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FROM SNOWDON TO THE SEA
JB\> tbe same Butbor.
Dedicated by Gracious Permission to
Her Royal Highness the DUCHESS OF YORK.
GLIMPSES OF WELSH LIFE AND
By Marie Trevelyan.
In Crown 8vo, 408 pages, vellum cloth, Illuminated,
price 6s. ; gilt edges, 6s. 6d.
t^ Her Majesty the Queen, H.R.H. the PRINCE OF
WALES, H.R.H. the DUCHESS OF YORK,
and H.R.H. the DUCHESS OF TECK, have
each been graciously pleased to accept a copy of
"Glimpses of Welsh Life and Character."
" 'Glimpses of Welsh Life and Character' has been a theme
of admiring conversation since the first day of its appearance."
— // 'cstcrn Mail, Cardiff.
"One of the rare books which disappoint the reviewer by
turning out to be infinitely better than is expected." — Liverpool
FROM SNOWDON to the SEA
STIRRING STORIES OF
NORTH AND SOUTH WALES
'glimpses of welsh life and character," "brave little women,
JOHN HOGG, 13 PATERNOSTER ROW
[A// rights 7'eserved'\
BY KIND PERMISSION
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD WINDSOR,
LORD LIEUTENANT OF GLAMORGANSHIRE.
lAIR WALES, the region of thrilling song
and witcbing romance, of gloomy tragedy
and quaint comedy, is again my theme^
and the English who have had glimpses of my
native land and its people are invited to accom-
pany me in spirit to the lofty summit of Snowdon
and the solitary traeth of the sea.
To the heights of Snowdon, Vortigern retreated
after the treachery of the Long Knives, and there
Merlin the magician assisted the king to build
the wonderful castle, supposed to be impregnable,
but ultimately destroyed by the enemy, — after
which, in a lonely valley near the sea, the un-
fortunate monarch was buried in all his bravery
of green armour.
Through the passes of Snowdon, Llewellyn,
the last native prince of Wales, descended to his
doom on the banks of the Irvon ; and, from the
rocky fastnesses of the same mountain range,
Prince David was dragged to his barbarous death
After privation, loneliness, and cold, Owen
Glendower and his men went from the celebrated
mountain to meet the troops of King Henry the
Fourth, and, later on, retired to the sea cave
known as Ogof Owain, where, according to tradi-
tion, the great leader of rebellion with his soldiers
wait, ready to rush forth at the command of
Wales, should an enemy assail the dear old land.
From the crest of Snowdon to the verge of
the restless sea waters that wash the Northern,
Western, and Southern boundaries of Wales, the
Awen or Muse has descended to the sons and
daughters of the bards who revered Eryri as the
Parnassus of the Principality.
Among the grand and impressive highlands of
the North, and the pastoral and beautiful low-
lauds of the South, the traditions, folk-lore, and
romances that are woven into these stories, have
To itinerant preachers, to the humble and
primitive peasantry, to the grand-sire who holds
the place of honour iu the fireside corner of
the settle, and to grand-dames, who, while knit-
ting, croon at eventide over the long ago, I
am indebted for the threads that form the warp
and woof of my mental weavings, which I hope
will aid in briD^iDor Eno^land and Wales into still
closer communion, under the good old Welsh
motto, '' Galon AVrth Galon "— '' Heart to Heart."
My publisher, Mr. John Hogg, once more
entering into the spirit of the Geltic subject,
as in the case of my former work, " Glimpses of
Welsh Life and Character," suo^o-ested a national
emblem for the cover design of this book. In
preparing the sketch of the arms supplied by
the Heralds' College, most valuable assistance
has been kindly and courteously rendered by
Mr. Everard Green (" Eouge Dragon"), who
thus certifies the design : —
^' I hereby certify that the arms on the other
side are those of Llewellyn, Prince of North
Wales, and of Khys ap Tewclwr, the last King
of South Wales, who bore the arms of Howell
Dda his ancestor, as did the subsequent Princes
of South Wales.
" Everard Green "
The shields of Prince Llewellyn and of Khys
rocky fastnesses of the same mountain range,
Prince David was dragged to his barbarous death
After privation, loneliness, and cold, Owen
Glendower and his men went from the celebrated
mountain to meet the troops of King Henry the
Fourth, and, later on, retired to the sea cave
known as Ogof Owain, where, according to tradi-
tion, the great leader of rebellion with his soldiers
wait, ready to rush forth at the command of
Wales, shoidd an enemy assail the dear old land.
From the crest of Snowdon to the verge of
the restless sea waters that wash the Northern,
Western, and Southern boundaries of Wales, the
Awen or Muse has descended to the sons and
daughters of the bards who revered Eryri as the
Parnassus of the Principality.
Among the grand and impressive highlands of
the North, and the pastoral and beautiful low-
lands of the South, the traditions, folk-lore, and
romances that are woven into these stories, have
To itinerant preachers, to the humble and
primitive peasantry, to the grand-sire who holds
the place of honour in the fireside corner of
the settle, and to grand-dames, who, while knit-
ting, croon at eventide over the long ago, I
am indebted for the threads that form the warp
and woof of my mental weavings, which I hope
will aid in bringino^ Endand and Wales into still
closer communion, under the good old Welsh
motto, '' Galon Wrth Galon "— " Heart to Heart."
My publisher, Mr. John Hogg, once more
entering into the spirit of the Geltic subject,
as in the case of my former work, '' Glimpses of
Welsh Life and Character," suo^gested a national
emblem for the cover design of this book. In
preparing the sketch of the arms supplied by
the Heralds' College, most valuable assistance
has been kindly and courteously rendered by
Mr. Everard Green ("Eouge Dragon"), who
thus certifies the design : —
" I hereby certify that the arms on the other
side are those of Llewellyn, Prince of North
Wales, and. of Ehys ap Tewclwr, the last King
of South AVales, who bore the arms of Howell
Dda his ancestor, as did the subsequent Princes
of South Wales.
" Everard Green "
(" Eouge Dragon ").
The shields of Prince Llewellyn and of Ehys
ap Tewclwr, uDited above the motto of tbe
Bardic Chair of Dyfed (Dimetia), which is also
frequently called tbe Chair of South Wales
(Deheubartb), are most appropriate symbols for
a volume of stories founded upon Welsh tradi-
tions and folk-lore.
THE MASTER OF LLANTYSILIO (a
STORY OF THE DEE SIDE) .
ROGER MEYRICK's RIDE (a FOLK- |
STORY OF CASTELL CARREG) j
" TILL THE DAY OF JUDGMENT" (A (
NIGHT IN THE CHAIR OF IDRIS) J
THE RANSOM OF SIR HARRY
[e. GLAMORGAN .
[S. GLAMORGAN .
THE SWEET SINGER OF VALLE
CRUCIS ABBEY (EXPERIENCES OF
THE supernatural) .
THE GHOST OF THE GATE-HOUSE .
THE FLIGHT OF THE MERLYN
THE MAN OF THE MOAT HOUSE .
THE LADY OF THE LAKE
- [DENBIGH .
SWEET LYDIA. FELL (A STORY OF
THE WELSH QUAKERS)
THE WELSH MERRY-MAN
THE WHITE WOMEN OF LUNDY
THE BLACK BRIDE OF CAERWEN .
BOUND FOR LLANDOVERY
'twas in BEAUMARIS BAY
THE SCARLET RIBBON .
THE LEGEND OF RHITTA THE GIANT
LADY JANE OF SUTTON (A STORY OF
THE ANCIENT STRADLING FAMILY)
" FOR THE KING, OR FOR OWEN
PIP, FLUSH, AND FLANDERS
[n. GLAMORGAN . . 182
[lUNDY and SWANSEA
[s. GLAMORGAN .
[S. GLAMORGAN .
[S. GLAMORGAN .
Zbc flDaetcr of Xiant^eilio
A STORY OF THE DEE SIDE
IT was a midsummer bush.
Not a sound could be heard save the
ceaseless murmurino' of the sacred Dee,
as it rushed over the Horse Shoe Weir, or the
occasional chauutinof of missel thrushes in the
elm trees fring^iuo^ the foamino: torrent.
The cloudless sky, gleaming like sapphire,
was clearly reflected upon the river, where tree-
shadows fell brokenly as the sun-kissed waters
glided serenely onward to the verge of the
Noontide splendour filled the beautiful Vale of
Llantysilio with golden glory.
Through woven branches and wild rose sprays,
the sunlight slanted downward into peaceful
pasture lands, where sweet meadow grasses
mingled with red and purple clover bloom, and
delicate ferns fringed the luxuriant hedge-rows.
14 The Master of Llantysilio
Blackbirds nestled closely in their leafy re-
treats, the yellow hammer moved more lazily
than usual, water ouzels darted to and fro beside
the Dee waters, and water wagtails and linnets
vied with each other in idly dipping their heads
and wings in the river, then scattering silvery
showers like dewdrops on the mossy sward.
So sultry and still was the noontide, that the
sheep and cattle were gathered together under the
shady trees which here and there were grouped
about the fields, while even the ever restless
Welsh mountain ponies, known as " merlyns,"
were obliged to lie down in cool shadows.
Where now the pretty church of Llantysilio
stands, an older edifice stood in the latter half of
the last century, and, on the site of the modern
hall, an ancient residence was then to be found.
The old ivy-covered church crumbling to decay,
stood as a monument of the far past, when cowled
monk and girdled friar moved leisurely to and
fro the beautiful valleys of Wales, and the sound
of the Angelus penetrated the narrow ravines or
floated like a mystic melody downward with the
The ancient Hall looked grand and stately in
the midsummer glow.
Not a shadow flecked the flood of sunshine
that filled the mossy lawns and terraces, where
the hoary sundial recorded the fleeting hours,
A Welshman of the Old School 1 5
and, above and beyond it, the gilded weather-
vane stood motionless upon the ivy-covered out-
In the cool and shady study, looking on to
the terrace, the Master of the Hall was busily
engaged in writing. His swift and impatient pen
hurried over page after page, and, wdien that work
was completed, he began summing up various
accounts. The occupation of casting and balanc-
ing was by no means congeuial to the Scjuire of
Llantysilio, whose expenditure was always greater
than his income. Presently he dashed his pen
upon the table, leaned back ia his comfortable
chair, and began running his fingers through the
heavy masses of his dark hair, wdiere silvery
threads already appeared.
The Squire — or Master, as he was generally
called — of Llantysilio, was a handsome man
above the average height of modern AYelshmen.
He was sprightly, somewhat proud, reticent, but
extremely good-natured. In his dark eyes a
fiery light lurked, ready to flash forth lightnings
when matters w^ent wrong, and his keen-cat
mouth curved wdth scorn w4ien anything affected
his dignity. He was a Welshman of the old
school — a typical gentleman of the period, when
to be deeply in debt was the rule, and to be
fairly sober w^as the exception.
The Master of Llantysilio was the youngest
1 6 The Master of Llantysilio
survivor of three brothers, all of whom had been
brought up by their only half-sister, k. own iu
her aore as Madam. She was about six..7-eio;ht
and the Master was forty-five. Not one the
brothers ever married or thought of marriage,
and the Master was, to the world of Llantysilio,
a bachelor, though it was rumoured that he had
a wife and children in England, where he spent
most part of the year.
Madam said she was married to Duty, but
she believed the Master had " some kind of tie
somewhere." Else how could the money go so
fast ? She had been a " saving woman" all her
lifetime, but all her economy failed to bring the
Master's expenditure w^ithin the limits of his
Thoughts like these kept running in her mind,
while she replenished the pot-pourri and harvested
the lavender on that sultry midsummer morning.
" Is Kobin Ddu coming; to-morrow ? " asked
the Master, breaking in on Madam's reverie.
" That is more than I can tell," replied Madam.
" Eobin is flighty. If he wills it to come, he
Eobert Lloyd, the tailor of Llangollen, was
popularly known by the soubriquet of Eobin Ddu
— pronounced The — or Black, because some said
he was acquainted with the hlach art.
Even as the Master and Madam were speaking.
Robin Ddu \ y
Robin Ddu appeared coming up the drive, like
a long thin shadow fleeting across the sunshine.
He was a tall shadowy man, with a wan and
ghost-like face, hollow eyes, hollow cheeks, and
high cheek-bones. His whole frame was painfully
attenuated, and his long, thin arms and bony
hands looked more like angular appendages of a
wooden doll than limbs of real flesh and blood.
" The more you do feed him, the thinner he
do look," said the farmer folk ; and the villagers
added, '' Robin Ddu is tormented by a ghost."
Strange stories were told about him, all of
which were discredited by both the Master and
Madam. But country people from Llangollen
to Llantysilio declared that the tailor heard un-
earthly noises, and saw strange sights, and went
through gruesome midnight experiences, all of
which caused his poor wretched body to waste
away, even though, wherever he worked, '*the
best of food " was put before him.
He was the best tailor " for forty miles round,"
and it was regarded as quite a favour to be able
to obtain Robin Ddu's services. Robin booked
engagements twelve months in advance, and, as
a rule, regularly as clockwork fulfilled them.
In those days as now, in many parts of Wales,
the tailors went from house to house, working
for weeks in one family, just as dressmakers in
country places do in these times.
The Master of Llantysilio
Kobin Ddu was anuouiicecl, the servant letting
him into the morning-room, where the Master and
Madam stood beside the harvested Lavender.
" Sirr ! " said Eobin with a strong double r,
and bowing respectfully to the Master, '' I did
think to finish at the parson's to-day, but I kent
till to-morrow night, an' if you'd be so kind as
to wait till then for me, I shall be thankful.
The parson's boys "
" What have the parson's boys to do with me ? "
said the Master, impatiently stamping his foot.
" Nothin', sirr — nothin' whatever. But now
an' then we do like to 'blige a neighbour,
'•' Neighbour, indeed ! " exclaimed the Master.
" The parson's no neighbour of mine ! I say you
must begin to work here to-morrow morning."
" Why will you be so unreasonable ? " remarked
Madam. " A day makes little difference to you.
I should think to-morrow night, or Thursday
morning, would do well enough. You're in no
" Much you know about it," exclaimed the
Master. " Six months ago, Eobin promised to
begin work on Midsummer Day, and begin on
that day he shall ! "
"Very good, sirr; very good," said Eobin.
" I '11 put the work by, and come here by eight
o'clock to-morrow mornin'."
Madam and the Tailor 19
With that, Eobiii Dclu bowed himself out of
the room, and Madam followed.
" You'll take a crust of bread and cheese
and a tankard of cwriv da'' said Madam to
'' Thank you kindly," replied Eobin, following
Madam to the servants' hall.
" The Master is getting more impatient and
irritable than ever," remarked Madam confi-
dentially to Robin, while he took the offered
"It's his way, Madam," replied Robin. " 'Twas
the natur of all the gentlemen of the Hall. There
was Master Griffith — he worrited hisself to
'' Yes ; but he had a cause after Gwen Hughes
" Well, Master David was jest the same,"
added Robin. " He was always a troublin' his
mind 'bout somethin' or another."
'^ He was never well," pleaded Madam. "But
my brother Owen has no cause for impatience
" How do we know, Madam ? Perhaps he's
got his worries in Llundain (London), or them
other places he- do go to."
" But what worries or cares can he have
there \ " curiously asked Madam.
" How do I know. But they do say," said
20 The Master of Llaiitysilio
Eobin, cautiously lowering his voice, " the Master
spends a sight o' money in Llundain."
" I thiuk so too," said Madam. " But the ex-
travagance and irritability of Owen, and Griffith,
and David come from their mother's side. My
mother was most amiable, but "
" So I've heerd my father tell," interrupted
" But their mother — my stepmother, you know
— was always fretful, though she died wlien
Owen was only a year old."
"I've heerd them say so," said Robin, looking
up with a start when the cuckoo clock struck the
hour of one.
" How Madam ken talk to Robin Ddu as much
as she do, I don't know," commented one servant
to another in the butler's pantry.
" I'm afeard of him," said the housemaid.
" An' I wouldn't meet him in the dark for the
life of me," added the cook.
Five minutes later Robin Ddu fleeted like a
shadow through the sunshine, his attenuated
form looking cold and ghost-like even in the
splendour of midsummer.
Robin Ddu toiled hard and fast throug;h the
burning hours of that afternoon. It was after
eight o'clock when he put his work aside and
went to his lodgings. He was, as a rule, very
reticent, talking freely only to those with whom
The Heritage of Ghostly Annoyance 2 1
he had been thoroughly familial- all bis lifetime.
To his few chosen friends he admitted that both
he and " his father before him " were haunted.
It was said that Robin's grandfather had robbed
an aged aunt of a large sum of money which she
had saved for her only daughter. The old woman
on her deathbed bes^cred for restitution, which
was promised ; but the daughter eventually
died of starvation, while her heartless cousin
Soon after the death of the injured woman,
her cousin became an altered man. People said
that the aged aunt and her daughter haunted
him. At last he declared he could not get any
rest between midnight and sunrise, and very
often in the day he was pinched, struck, and tor-
mented by unseen assailants.
In a few years his business went to its lowest
ebb, then he died.
The heritage of ghostly annoyance fell to his
son, who became a soldier, and sought in change
of scene and active life, respite from the angered
ghosts. He returned home to Wales, and was
worried almost to death by the obnoxious ghosts,
who would not give him peace by night or day.
The worst part of it all was that Robin, even as
a child, looked ghost-ridden. He was apprenticed
to a tailor, and then became a soldier, but from
his youth upw^ard he was very delicate. Soon
2 2 The Master of Llantysilio
after his father's death the ghosts began to worry
him, and continued to do so from manhood to
" They do never give me an hour's peace,"
lamented Eobin to his friend Timothy, with
whom he always lodged when working in the
n eighbourhood of Llantysilio. " I be better when
I'm away from home. But wherever I do go
they do find me out, if 'tis only for a little
"Did you never try to get somebody to lay
the ghosts ? " asked his friend.
" Lay these here ghosts ! " exclaimed Eobin.
" There'll be no layin to them till I be in my
grave ! "
Robin sighed deeply.
Later on he went out for a stroll. It was a
glorious night — that Eve of St. John and mid-
summer. Moonbeams fell in silvery radiance
upon the waters of the Dee as the river poured
ceaselessly over the Horse Shoe Weir, and the
dark trees looked like grim sentinels standing
out clear ao^ainst the moonlio-ht.
Eobin Ddu walked on like one in a dream.
To him it was a pleasure to find peace and rest
of body and brain. Li his reverie he thought of
the Eve of St. John, of the many associations
and superstitions connected therewith ; then
feeling more peaceful than he had felt for many
A Ghostly Visitant 23
months, lie returued to liis lodoino-s and went to
Eobin Ddu slept well for the first three hours
that night, even though the moonlight, streaming
in throuo^h the curtained window, almost forbade
Just as the clock struck i a.m., Robin
awoke, and fanch^d he felt a breath of cold air
in the room. The moon was setting, and the
lififht in the window had become dim and
shadowy, when suddenly he heard the latch of
the door clicking. Robin Ddu turned in his
bed. He expected his usual ghostly visitants,
instead of which he saw a mysterious and
stately lady, robed in grey, coming towards
him from the doorway. She went to Eobin,
touched him on the lips with an icy finger, and
whispered, " Follow me."
Robin hesitated, but the lady moved to the
doorway, and therefrom earnestly beckoned him
with her forefinger and whispered, '' Come !
Come ! "
Robin Ddu, fearful of incurring the dis-
pleasure of the apparition, dressed himself
The ghostly visitor, in a calm and dignified
manner, preceded Robin downstairs, and out on
to the road. She went on a little ahead of her
companion, and led the way to Llantysilio church.
24 The Master of Llantysilio
To Eobiii's surprise pale tapers shed ghostly
lio-ht throucrli the church windows. The church
door was open, and the spectral lady, followed
by Eobin, entered. Then the apparition led
him to the chancel, and vanished.
Alone, before the altar steps stood Robin Ddu.
The pale glimmering radiance of lighted tapers
illuminated the altar, and shed a dim and un-
earthly light upon all the surrounding objects.
Robin Ddu's teeth chattered, and he chafed
his long thin hands to get warmth into them.
The night, or rather, the morning air was
keenly cold, quite unlike the atmosphere of
midsummer, and a sudden gust of wind threw
open the chancel door, through which, in the
dawn-light, a spectral figure entered. It was
that of a tall man, clothed in a swallow-tailed
coat, with dark plush knee-breeches, white
stockings, and low shoes with bows on the
insteps. His white wig was tied at the base
with black ribbons. He was soon followed by
two other men dressed after the same fashion.
The trio entered wnthin the altar rails, and
turned their faces towards the stone cross above
the communion table. In hollow sepulchral
tones the three spectral figures denounced the
Master of the Hall.
"Woe be to him walkino: ! " said one in a
hoarse, unearthly voice.
The Ciirse from the Altar 25
" AVoe be to liim standino- ! " almost grroaned
the second figure.
"Woe be to bini sitting!" wailed the third
" Woe-be-to-hini- where ver-he-goes ! " chanted
the trio as in one voice.
The first speaker then turned round face
towards the nave.
Eobin Ddu shuddered.
The speaker's face was white as with passiou,
and from his eyes a straiige and lurid light
flasljed, as he said — " Let him think Avhat he
may, the Master of the Hall shall not die a
natural death. He shall go to his grave un-
mourned and forgotten. When he dies, the
Hall shall be seized by one without legal right
to it. Strangers shall dwell therein, and, in
course of time, the Hall shall crumble to the
ground. Thereon shall rank and noxious weeds
grow, and when the mouldering wall can no
longer stand, a new Hall shall be built to cover
the ruins of the old habitation ! "
Tlie sjDCctral figures then vanished, and, a
moment later, a tall gentleman of military ap-
pearance strode into the chancel, entered the
Hall-pew, looked around, then passed down the
nave, and went out through the west door of
Eobin Ddu, trembling from head to foot, and
26 The Master of Llantysilio
shivering with cold, stood as one tran.^fixed with
amazement. He rubbed his eyes. Was it a
dream, or real ?
At that moment the altnr lights went out,
and the o-olden radiance of sunrise streamed in
throuoh the stained-olass window of the cliance],
already gorgeous with prismatic colours.
Eobin Ddu walked slowly to the western door,
which he found open as when he entered. He
returned to his lodgings, where his friend
Timothy's wife greeted him with a pleasant
"Good morning;" adding, "You've been out
for a walk betimes, Kobin."
"Ay!" he replied, drawing near the newdy-
"Art cold?" asked Timothy, coming in later
on from his work.
" That I be," replied Robin.
"Seen ghosts agen, I s'pose," remarked
"Ay! Ay!" said Eobin.
"AVell, well! Thee'rt an odd one," said
Timothy. " I do b'lieve thee wast born at mid-
night of a Nos dydd Calan. Thee'rt a man of
second sight sure — ly ! But come to breakfast."
Eobin broke his fast in almost complete
silence, and afterwards went to the Hall, where
he soon commenced working away upon the
The Master s Dream 2 J
At nine o'clock Madam put in an appearance,
and at ten o'clock the Master strode into the
" So you've come," said the Master.
'' Yes, sirr," replied Eobin. '' An how may
you please to find your.<elf, sirr ? "
''Pretty fair, pretty fair," said the Master,
sinking into the deptlis of a big arm-chair near
Kobin's low deal work-table.
The Master of Llantysilio ran his fingers
thiough his hair, then he got up and restlessly
paced the room.
" I know you believe in ghosts," said the
"Ay, ay, sirr!" chimed in Robin.
" But do you believe in dreams ? " asked the
Master, curiously scanning the tailor's face.
" I do believe in some dreams," said Robin.
" But it isn't everybody as has dreams what do
" Mine never come true," continued the
Master impetuously. "But I had an odd dream
The Master crossed the rooni, shut the door,
then sank again into the arm-chair, and told his
" I dreamt that three bad men came and
dragged me from my bed, and took me to the
church. There, before the high altar, they
28 The Master of Llaiitysilio
blasphemously denounced me, and one of tliem
said the cause of my death should be unnatural.
I felt miserable, and returned home. As soon
as I entered the Hall, a military-looking man
ordered me out. I refused to go, whereupon he
took me by the shoulders and turned me out.
He bolted and barred the doors, and I found
myself left to the mercy of the world, or to die
on the roadside."
The Master shivered as though cold, yet great
beads of burning sweat moistened his forehead,
followed by fevered heat, then by icy coldness.
Eousing himself, he imperiously asked, " What
is the meaning of my dream ? Tell the truth ;
screen nothing, Eobin Ddu."
Robin set aside his needle.
" It is a dream of warnin', I should say, sirr,"
said the tailor.
"Warninfr'? warning to me? What have I
done, what do I do, that I should need a warn-
ing from anybody?" asked the Master almost
"You did tell me ti) give you the truth an
screen nothin'," said Robin, who had descended
from his table and stood upon the floor.
Robin Ddu drew himself up to his full height,
his long attenuated figure looking shadowy in
the sunlight, his hollow eyes and high cheek
bones appearing ghostly even in the warm day-
Robin s JVainiing- 29
time. Dark rings were under Lis eyes, bis
fingers trembled, his br;iin whirled with the
memory of the last night's scene and present
thoughts of the Master's dreams.
"Beware !" exclaimed Eobin Ddu, in a husky
voice, as he raised the forefinger of his right hand
at the Master ; '' beware of three bad men, who
will tempt thee to do evil ; and beware of the
military man, who means to work out thy
destruction ! "
" My destruction !" shouted the Master, stamp-
in oj his foot until the room ran or with the sound.
"My destruction!" reiterated the Master.
" Thy warning shall be thy destruction for a very
certainty !" he continued. " Give up thy work,
thou ghost-ridden skeleton ; I can find another
tailor ! "
"So be it," said Robin Ddu. "When I've
done this work I'll go. There's a plenty waitin'
for me for forty miles round."
The Master was in a rage, and strode out of
the room, while, through another door. Madam
"What's all this hubbub about?" asked
Eobin told her all, screening: nothino^ of that
which had passed between him and the Master ;
but to Madam he related his experiences of the
30 The Master of Llantysilio
He dared not have told so much to the Master.
Madam was surprised, and to some extent
" The Master ought to take warnin'/' said
Robin Ddu. " I kent say I do like that dream,
coming after what I did see with my own eyes."
" But warning in what way ? " asked Madam.
"I do believe that the Master do gamble,"
said Robin firmly ; "an' L do believe he do lose
"Never!" exclaimed Madam, testily adding,
"Not one of our boys or our family was ever
given to gaming ! "
" 'Tisn't for me to speak on the Master's
private afi'airs, Madam ; but as 1 do live he's
given to gamin'."
" I know he has expensive tastes," said Madam
quietly, " and he uses a lot of money. There's
always more going out than coming in. But
where the Master takes the money is more than
1 can tell."
" He do take the money to the gamblin' table
as safe as I'm a living man. Madam," said the
" I'll find out if there's any truth in what you
say," said Madam, " and, if possible, put a stop
to his gaming. That any one of our family
should be given to such evil ways is more than
I can at present believe. But time will tell."
Let Bygones be Bygones
Madam quitted tlie room, and soon was busily
engaged in turning the sun-dried lavender and
adding to the pot-pourri.
" Eobin Ddu ! " shouted the Master from the
Eobin quickly responded.
"Come here," said the Master, flourishino- his
hunting-crop above his head.
Eobin went towards the Master.
"Thee dost deserve a sound thrashing," said
the Master. ''But I'll let thee off this time
with only a — a — warning ! "
The Master brought liis hunting-crop with a
crack upon the great oaken table in the Hall.
" Eobin Ddu ! " shouted the Master.
'' Yes, sirr," replied the tailor.
'' If thee dost repeat the offence, look out for
thy head," said the Master.
'"Tis no smiling work," continued the Master,
whose irascibility was always impetuous, but
soon over. " Only remember this, take — warn-
ing in time. Now, go to work."
" I leave to-night," said Eobin.
" No, no, Eobin Ddu," said the Master. " Let
bygones be bygones. Go to work for the
time I've hired thee. There, go and have a
tankard of beer. It'll put flesh upon thy
32 TJie Master of Llantysilio
With that the Master strode away, and Robin
Ddu repaired to the servants' hall, Avhere Madam
served him with her own hands.
Robin fulfilled his term of engagement at
Llantysilio, and, in due course, returned home
The news of the tailor's night visit to Llanty-
silio church was soon whispered abroad, but
people kept it from the Master.
Henceforth, wherever Robin went, the memory
of that Eve of St. John and midsummer kept
beside him like a grim shadow which would
not be shaken off.
Several years passed.
The waters of the Dee still ran over the Horse
Shoe Weir, and, as of old, the Master of the
Hall went to and fro, now fiercely scolding, and
now immoderately praising those around him.
Robin Ddu still plied his needle, paid his
periodical visits to Llantysilio, and as usual
went to the Hall.
One day in the autumn of a year that had been
very rainy, the Master went to the cellar to de-
cant some wine. By some mischance he missed
his footing, slipped and fell on some of the
bottles, and severely cut his hand with the
For several hours the bleeding could not be
The Stranger's Arrival
staunched, and afterwards a wound formed which
became obstinate, and would not heal.
The Master went to London, and remained
there for more than a year, much to Madam's
vexation. The hand grew worse, and the Master
returned home. Madam tenderly nursed him,
but all her care was of no avail. Worse and
worse became the wound, and at length the
Master died of what doctors to-day call "blood-
On the mornincy of the funeral Robin Ddu,
with others, came to take a last look at the
Master, whose face had a peaceful expression,
though the features were worn almost to a
shadow with sufferino-.
At the hour named for the funeral a gentle-
man, of niilitary appearance, arrived at the Hall
in order to take part, he said, in the ceremony.
He was not known — not even to Madam.
But Eobin Ddu, standing far back among the
shadows of the entrance-hall, recognised in the
stranger the man of St. Johns Eve and the
The funeral procession set out, and the keen
eyes of the tailor noticed that the stranger did
not follow the mourners, nor mingle with the
tenantry and general public.
Robin remarked this to his friend Timothy,
who walked with him in the procession.
34 The Master of Llantysilio.
'' P'rhaps he's behind us," whispered Timothy.
" I don't think so," said Eobin. " I do think
he do mean no good."
It happened as the tailor prophesied.
When the mourners— chief of whom wasMadam
— returned to the Hall, they could not re-enter.
Every door was bolted and barred — every window
was securely fastened. The military man had
taken possession of the place.
From the top of the porch to which he had
rrained access by means of the French window,
the stranger informed Madam, and those of the
Master's next-of-kin who were present, that he
claimed the Hall as a stake he had won when
gambling with the late proprietor. He further
stated that as soon as his solicitors arrived from
London, Madam should come in and take out
all her own possessions in the shape of goods
Madam, broken down with grief for the loss
of her brother, found herself suddenly and un-
expectedly, in her age, turned out of house and
All the people of Llantysilio, and many miles
around, offered shelter to Madam, but the rector
and his wife took her to the Rectory, W'here she
was to remain until her rightful property was
But Madam died of a broken heart in six
After Long Years 35
months after the Master, and was buried in the
sarae grave as her brothers.
The estate was thrown into Chancery, and
remained there for long years, and when it came
at hist into the possession of the Master's next-of-
kin, the walls bad crumbled away and the Hall
was almost a ruin. The owners — remote rela-
tives of the Master and Madam — being too poor
to rebuild the Hall, sold the ground on which
it stood, and the estate that surrounded it.
On the site of the old mansion a new Hall was
built, and strangers paced the mossy lawns and
flower gardens, where the Master of Llantysilio
once loved to wander, and where silvery-haired
Madam replenished her pot-pourri, and harvested
her sweet lavender in the midsummers of lon.o^
IRoocr flOevnncIV^ IRi&e
A FOLK-STORY OF CASTE LL CARREG
ONG stretches of purple heather fringed
the brown moorknd pools, around which
yellow marsh marigolds bloom in pro-
lusion in the spriug, and tall golden irises hold
their heads aloft in the early summer.
It was a 2:lorious evenino;. The mellow radiance
of the autumnal sunset glowed in the western
sky, lighting up for a brief time the darkest
corners, and gilding the tarnished livery of the
To the south, the Severn Sea was almost lost
in the golden haze, through which the Steep
Holm loomed like a fairy fortress or a lonely
dream island, where one could forget the bitter
past, and conjure up a mystical future that should
atone for the uncertain present.
Here and there, on the sea, the ships looked
like phantoms gliding to or from unknown
The Vale of Worship 37
havens, and the little skiffs sailed lazily along
like a fairy flotilla bonnd for the islands of the
To the west, embowered in woodlands, is the
Vale of Worship, dotted here and there by hoary
and moss-OTown druidical stones, bevond which
stands the laro^est cron>lech in all Britain.
Looking from the high moorland, the sur-
rounding country appeared like a fairy realm
stretching towards the region of the setting sun.
On the outskirts of the moorland a few strag-
gling cottages remained in the days of which I
write, and in one of these lived an old woman
known by the sobriquet of "Mary the Downs."
Waste common land, moorland, and unenclosed
heaths are frequently called "the downs" in
Mary lived on St. Lythan's Down, near St.
Nicholas, in the Vale of Glamorgan. She re-
tained a bright intellect, and could thread her
needle without the aid of glasses at the age of
ninety-three, and even then remembered all the
old folk-stories that were told in her childhood.
In her quaint Anglo-Cymric 'patois she w^ould
tell the tales of her grandmother, and all the
traditions, and nursery stories, handed orally
down from one ^feneration to another. She
remembered ministers and pious men coming
long distances to lay ghosts, and she was per-
38 Roger Mey rick's Ride
fectly certain lier great-grandni other was a friend
of the ''little people," as the fairies are some-
times called in Wales. The Tylwyth Teg and
the Bendith-y-Mamau had visited Cogan Pill in
her own childhood, and she had been fairy-led
in a field near Wenvoe Castle when quite a
grown woman ! She had also found strange
small silver in her own new tin money-box be-
fore anybody had placed a contribution therein.
Mary would not have it that her mother had
possibly put some small silver in the box "for
Seated in her arm-chair beside the glowing
fire, Mary would tell her stories as long as any-
body cared to listen, and many pleasant hours
could be wiled away in the old woman's company.
Her language was not polished, and sometimes
it became confused ; but she was one of the last
of the old Welsh story-tellers, the last of a
generation that has seen its day, and is lost in
the peaceful past.
"Did you ever hear the story of Cast ell Carreg? "
I told her I had heard much about the cele-
brated cromlech, and others of its kind in the
" Oh, 'tis nothin' 'bout the Druids an' Bards,"
said she. " 'Tis a story my great-grandfather
used to tell my grandfather."
The Battle of St. Fagan 39
Mary related the story in her own old fashion.
I have woven it thus : —
Although nearly five years had passed since the
terrible battle of St. Fagan's was fought, the con-
flict was still cruelly fresh in the people's memory,
and many lamented the loss of relatives and friends
as if they had only just been severed from them.
In the lowest end of the druidical A^ale of
Worship, a small farm-house called Northcliffe
nestles under the trees in a veritable sleepy
hollow. Away beyond it, broad meadow lands
stretch from the mill of Duffryn to that of
Lidmoor, both in full working order in the days
of Cromwell. On the heights above Northcliffe
stood Sutton, then a quaint old Tudor -built
house, now it is an ordinary farm. Even in
the present days of toil and traffic, Northcliffe is
secluded ; still, in the stream that flows through
the mill-meaclows, otters are to be seen, and
still in the orchards the nightingales sing, as
though the world was in its youth.
Eoger Meyrick of Northcliffe was a rich man
before Cromwell scoured the country, but after-
wards he found it difficult to make ends meet.
He had lost two sons in the battle of St. Fagan's,
and one of them had left a widow and children,
the care of whom fell to Roger's lot. Another
son, named Cyril, was taken prisoner, and still
remained in exile.
40 Roger Meyrick's Ride
Late in the autumn of 1649, Eoger Meyrick
took the path through the fields in the Vale of
Worship, and passed Castell Carreg on his way
to the village of St. KichoLas. He had many
calls to make, and twilight was deepening into
night, when he started to walk home again, this
time by way of the road.
Autumn leaves fluttered silently downward
into one of the most beautiful roadways in South
Wales. Broad margins of grass are on each
side of the thoroughfare, and, nnder stately and
ancient oaks and elms, a sparkling brook glides
onward to the valley below. Hoary oaks, that
Ijave stood the storms of centuries, crown each
upland, and groves of the same venerable trees
still remain where once the Druids worshipped.
As Eoger Meyrick w^ent past the Manor House,
St. Nicholas, where chestnut trees form a dense
canopy even in the daytime, and make the road-
way as dark as night, early in the evening a man
"It is dark hereabouts," said the man.
*'That it is," replied Eoger; "but who may
" You know my voice, don't you ? " asked the
" I can't say that I do," replied Eoger.
"Don't you remember Miles Button of Sheep-
cote ? " asked the strano-er.
Roger s Companion 41
" I do. He was taken prisoner at the battle
of St. Fagan's."
" Yes, and lie had a son named Morgan," said
" I remember," said Roger, sighing deeply.
'' Poor fellow ! He was killed in the great
" Was he ? " curiously asked the stranger.
"To be sure he was," said Eoger sorrow^fully.
" No, no," said the man decidedly.
"Well, if he wasn't killed, why didn't he
come home when 'twas safe for him to come ?
'Tis goin' on five years since that terrible battle."
Roger sighed deeply, and tears filled liis eyes.
" Morgan Button escaped," said the stranger
hurriedly ; " he went abroad and returned."
" When did he come back ? " asked Roger.
" The last week in October," replied the man.
" I've not heard a word about it," said Roger,
Roger Meyrick was always one of the earliest
to know the gossip of the country-side, and re-
sented the idea of anybody else being first in
" You may not have heard the news," said
the strano-er, "but he's come for all that."
Just then the men emero:ed out of the dense
shadows into the twilight, and immediately Roger
Meyrick recognised his companion.
42 Roger Mey rick's Ride
" Well indeed ! " exclaimed Eooer. " Sure
enough 'tis Morgan Button himself ! But what
do you come this way for ? Why don't you go
to Sheepcote ? "
" To tell the truth," said Morgau, low^ering
his voice, '' I want to keep out of the way for
a bit. My father is home, and I've been a bad
boy — spent too much money, and he's augered
about it. My mother asked me to keep away
from the house for a few weeks."
"And where may you be staying?" asked
" With the people of Tinkin's Wood," was the
" Oh ! with the Powells ? "
" The same."
The men walked slowly on in the growing
darkness, until they reached the little bridge
spanning the brook, and leading to the farm-
house known as Tinkin's Wood, close beside
Morgan talked much of his escape after the
battle of St. Fagan's, and of his doings whilst
abroad, and time seemed to fly, so pleasant was
the conversation. The men lingered on the
brido-e until nio-htfall, and then Roo^er was loth
to leave the wanderer.
" Come up with me to the house a bit," said
Morgan. " 'Tis early yet."
Cyrir s Return 43
" Well, to be sure," said Eoger, " I think I will.
It can't be long after six, by the light."
At Tinkin's Wood, Roger was warmly welcomed.
The inmates were hospitable people, and soon
Powell the elder, Moro^an Button, and Eos^er
Meyrick were regaling themselves with cakes
and cwTiv da (beer).
In the midst of their rejoicing, loud knocking
was heard at the front door.
A stranger begged permission to rest awhile,
for the night was dark, and he had come a long
" Come in, come in," said John Powell, throw-
ing the front door widely open.
In strode a tall young man dressed in the
fashion of the period.
'* I have tethered my horse to a tree in yonder
yard," said the strange visitor.
John Powell directed his men to see to the
animal, and led the way to the kitchen.
Roger Meyrick could scarcely believe his own
eyes, for there, erect as ever, stood his youngest
son, Cyril !
" My son ! my son ! " exclaimed Roger. " My
son returned from exile ! "
Cyril warmly returned his father's embraces,
and his friends' hearty greetings. Then they all
sat down and talked, and quaffed large tankards
filled with foaming nut-brown ale. Story after
44 Roger Mey rick's Ride
story was told, and the night was growing.
Morgan Button quafFed the foaming ale and
related his experiences abroad. Cyril Meyrick
also heartily quafFed the ale, and talked much
about his adventures, while John Powell and
Roger Meyrick listened long and earnestly.
The hours flew like fleet-winged birds before
a hurricane. It was eleven o'clock, and Roger
said he must o-o, ])ut Moro^an Button and Cyril
Meyrick urged him to remain.
" If you'll stay ai] other hour," said Cyril,
" you shall have my horse. I'll stay here, and you
can go home and prepare mother for my coming."
What a kind and thoughtful son ! Roger,
mounted on a swift horse, would be home in
" no time." It mattered little if he remained
anotlier hour. Ao^ain and ao^ain were the tankards
replenished with the foaming nut-brown ale of
It was midniglit ! Still one more story, then
Roo-er must 2:0.
It was an hour later when he mounted Cyril's
horse, and had the reins put in his hands by his
long-exiled son. The knowledge was too good
to be true.
How the kind wife at home would rejoice,
" for this my son that was lost is found again."
"Cyril, my bo}^, what is the horse's name?"
asked Roger Meyrick.
Firefly s Race 45
"Firefly," replied Cyril. ''He's fleet-footed
but quite safe."
Then Cyril lighted the small saddle lantern
which he always used when riding in the dark.
'' Good-nio-ht," said Eoo^er.
" Good-night/' responded the other men.
Down through the darkness and the narrow
lane leadincr to the road went Eooer. He was
careful just there, for the lane was rough, and
the horse was strange to those parts.
Presently he reached the road leading from
St. Nicholas towards Duffryn. Li flrst the
horse went almost too slowly, but once on the
good road, it went at a better speed. By-and-
by it quickened its pace, and when Roger turned
into the road leading from St. Lythan's, Fire-
fly was going positively fast.
" It's a oood horse," remarked Roger, strokino-
Soon afterwards he thought the horse went
a little — just a little too fast. Firefly struck
its hoof sharply upon the rocky road.
That was enouoh !
Firefly started at a race-horse speed, and the
hands of the rider could not check him.
On, on went the horse and the rider, as though
to win a wager.
Roger Meyrick used every efi'ort to restrain
Cyril's horse, but failed.
46 Roger Mey ricks Ride
Although the night was dark, and the roads
strange to the horse, the animal raced until
Roger Meyrick felt as though he were being
carried off in a whirlwind.
North cliffe was passed, Sutton was reached,
still on, on, through the darkness and the night
Up hill, down dale, clattering through villages
silent as the grave ; bounding over brooks ;
dashing past lonely churchyards where the dead
slept oblivious of everything ; aud surmounting
every obstacle. Firefly raced as if lives were at
stake. Roger's brain whirled. He was almost
too giddy to wonder how and where the race
would end. What a terrible ride ! He could
never forget it — never ! He longed for the first
light of dawn to reveal where they were.
At last it came. A rift appeared in the grey
November clouds, and Roo-er had sufficient liorht
to see that they were on the Golden Mile, near
Bridgend, and many miles away from home.
Firefly slackened its pace for a moment,
duriug which time Roger Meyrick was able to
turn the horse's head. But the next minute the
animal was careering as madly as ever.
"The animal is surely bewitched," muttered
Roger, as he heard the people in the village
shouting, " A runaway ! a runaway ! "
The race was fearful, the noise of the people
Caste II Cai^reg 47
along the thoroiiglifaie became deafening. Clatter,
clatter, went the horse's hoofs upon the road.
Eattle and whiz went the whirlwind around
Koger's ears, as the " bewitched horse" raced
along. Suddenly the cock crew, and the horse
Roger Meyrick rubbed his eyes. He found
himself in Castell Carreg !
The "bewitched horse" was the fallen cromlech
on which he was seated. The ride was merely a
dream engendered by copious draughts of the
Welshman's beloved civrw da.
Roger Meyrick went home a sorrowful but
wiser man, and when he told his wife the story
of the Firefly race, she said, " That will teach
thee a lesson to come home straiorht instead of
going to sleep in Castell Carreg ! "
A year later the exiled son returned home,
but Morgan Button's fate remained a mystery.
Early in the last century it was a folk-remark
in that neighbourhood, when a man went to
market, to warn him to " Take care thee dost
not go for a ride round Castell Carreg on thy
''Zm tbe Da? of 3ut)cjment"
A NIGHT IN THE CHAIR OF IDRIS
ELYN AP MADOC, a priuce of Merio-
neth, had been readiug the Triads, and
afterwards pondered deeply upon the
one in which it is recorded : — •
" The three Blessed Astronomers of the Island
of Britain — Idris, the Great ; Gwydion, son of
Don ; and Gwyn, son of Nudd — so great was
their kuowledo-e of the stars, and of their natures
and influences, that they could foretell whatever
any one might wish to know till the day of
What attracted his attention most, was that
*' they could foretell whatever any one might
wish to know till the day of judgment. ^^
At the same time, Belyn by no means wished
to know future events so far as the day of judg-
ment. In truth that was, he thought, going a
little too far ; but his ambition was to know
Belyn ap Madoc 49
if ever he would become a great man, a " leader
of men," like the renowned Glendower. Then
he suddenly remembered the old story, wherein
it w\as stated that whoever slept for one night
in the Chair of Idris would, as people said, " go
mad," or awaken gifted with inspiration — some
said poetical, others said astrological, while some
declared it w\is a little of each, seeing that poets,
seers, and madmen are closely allied.
Whatever the ins|)iration w\as, Belyn coveted
it, and set about the right way of obtaining, as
he thought, a *' peep into the future."
Belyn, taking sufficient provisions to sustain
himself during his pilgrimage, started in ample
time to reach the summit of Cader-Idris early in
the afternoon. Very beautiful, though toilsome,
w^as the route upward from Dolgelly ; but,
though the scenery was grand and impressive,
few people in those troublous times heeded the
beauties of nature. Grim chasms, beetling crags,
and towering rocks overhanging solitary ravines,
or lookin^T downward over lono- stretches of rich
pastures and tliymy uplands where the heather
was not yet in blossom, and the slopes were
strewn with fading petals of the golden gorse —
had little charm for the rough and uncultured
mountaineers of that period, or for the men who
were ready to take up arms with or against
50 " Till the Day of Judgment "
Belyn, after many pauses to rest on the
iip\Yard way, gained the summit, and for a short
interval stood to look down upon the vast pano-
It was a grand and impressive scene. Amid
warm mists and heated vapours the July sun
crept stealthily, and ahuost thief-like, behind the
western mountains, as though his golden orb
was being watched and his precious darts had
a price set upon them.
Belyn was dazzled by the sight, as he gazed
and gazed, untd the great sun sank below the
peaks of the west. For him the western dis-
tance held no charms beyond the freedom of the
sea, so like his own restless heart, and the
grandeur of the wild coast, so like his own wild
and uncurbed nature. The north was his home,
and his soul cIuuq: to that with all the ardour of
a Welshman. But the south, down there about
and beyond the Berwyn mountains, held a
wonderful charm for him, for there at present
the great and renowned Owen Glendower con-
gregated his followers.
As the last rays of the setting sun blazed
above the purple mountains, and the last shafts
of golden light glanced like lances between the
sharp peaks and splinty spires of the west,
Belyn moved towards the Chair, at the foot of
which he took a seat.
Watching the Stars 5 1
Not far above him eagles poised on their
wings, ready to descend in a "fell swoop" into
the valleys below, and on the crags around him
vultures couoTes^ated as if in solemn conclave,
while, lower down, kestrel and kite wheeled
wildly in the evening air.
Far, far below, lake and river and stream
looked like orbs and ribbons of silver in emerald
settings, while over all the tardy twilight threw
a veil of pale and delicate opal and purple tints.
Soon the light, circling clouds, like masters of
magic, wove spells around the great mountains,
and then Belyn felt himself altogether cut out
from the lower world.
Soon afterwards, nerving himself for the occa-
sion, Belyn took his seat in wdiat is called the
Night approached, and while dark clouds
circled below the peak, above, in the clear
purple sky, the stars came out and sparkled like
jewels. And then Belyn thought within himself,
No wonder that Idris GawT (Great) had come
there in dateless days far above the world to
watch the stars. Then there came to his mind
once more the enthralling words of the ancient
Triads — " Idris the Great ; Gwydion, son of
Don ; and Gwyn, son of Nudd. So great was
their knowledge of the stars, and of their natures
and influences, that they could foretell whatever
52 '' Till the Day of Judgment "
any one might wish to know till the day of
" So far," he whispered under his breath, for
the very thought overpowered him with awe.
" So far," he repeated, as a shudder passed
through his frame and the night wind j^layed
around his fevered brow, and cooled his heated
brain that throbbed with a wild unrest.
At last, when the first sense and symptoms of
drowsiness began to oppress him, he tried to
ward them ofi". For, in truth, although he came
up there to get the magic sleep, — ah ! now it
had come to the rub, he feared the nameless
horror of— madness !
What if he should go mad — yes, mad, and
die out there on the heights alone, and far from
kith and kin ; or worse still, become a wild and
sense-refc wanderer among the mountains, or a
time-driven and brain-consumed skeleton, to
descend like an evil spirit among his people,
and prove himself to be a living example of one
who had dared more than a mortal should ?
No ; he would not sleep in the Chair of Idris.
He would remain awake, and descend from the
great and gloomy peak as soon as the day-dawn
Suddenly, and without warning, he found
himself in utter darkness. Oh, the horror of it !
He stretched forth his hands as if to grasp> some
In the Chair of Idris 53
friendly rock or ledge, but in vain. What was
worse, it was a thick darkness, in which he
gasped for breath. He thought be must soon
One momeut he shivered with the cold until
his teeth chattered ; the next he was burninof
with fever heat, until his pulse throbbed as
though ready to burst with liquid fire.
Alas ! that he ever was so foolish as to veuture
to the Chair of Idris, and, after all, be unable to
sleep in it.
Surely they were mad who had said, that " he
who slej^t for one night in the Chair of Idris
would awaken gifted with poetical or astro-
logical inspiration," when there was no sleep to
be had in the hated spot.
Presently to his great relief the darkness seemed
to decrease, and he hailed a faint grey glimmer-
ing light, as one who, clinging to a shattered
spar on mid-ocean, greets a distant sail.
Belyn was almost frantic with delight.
The grey light developing revealed gigantic
forms, and Belyn began to think of Idris the
Great, of Gwydion the son of Don, of Gwyn the
son of Nudd, and last, but not least, of the Brenin
Llwyd the Grey King, who, they said, seated
himself among the mountain peaks and dis-
covered the secrets of the stars.
Belyn then heard the sound as of uncurbed
54 " Till the Day of Judgment''
floods let loose, and the rushiug of waters, and
tlie noise of many conflicting winds. He re-
membered he truly was near the " fountain of
the waters, and the cradle of the winds."
Out of what he thought to be the dim morning
twilight, a voice came, and this is what it said :
" When thou hast secrets to keep, dost thou
know where to keep them ? "
Another voice answered in hollow tones, " No."
" Trust them to the depths of the ocean ; trust
them to the rocky fastnesses of the mountains ;
trust them to the lone star distance, but not to
(^fellow-mortal ! "
Belyn sighed. It was a relief, and yet not
quite a pleasure, to hear these strange and un-
" Hast thou ambition ? " again questioned the
" Ay ! ay ! " responded the lesser voice.
'•' Place it on the flower of the field, and it will
wither ; plant it in the furrows with the grain,
and it will be blighted ; set it in the sweet aff'ec-
tions of thy heart, and it will turn to wormwood
and gall ; let it follow the warrior, and it will
end in conflict, in death, in dust ! "
Then another voice chaunted :
" Few win renown !
The monarch's crown
Is worn in pain !
A Mysterious Voice 55
The warrior's strength
Is spent at length,
In vain, in vain ! "
Belyn almost groaned. His ambitiou was to
follow Glcndower, and, like him, to become a
leader of men — a migiity warrior — an everlast-
One of the mysterious people appeared to
divine his thoughts, for, after a pause, the greater
voice cried: "Beware, rash youth, beware of
warfare, of battle, of woe, while yet no thread of
silver is seen in thy dark curling hair. AVe know
thy wishes. They are to go forth to battle — to
earn a miMitv name, and to come home victo-
rious and triumphant. Be not rash. Many will
go forth and few will return. Go home, and
try not to learn the secrets of the stars. The
greatest inspiration is to do good to thy neigh-
bours as to thyself, to be true to thyself and
thus be true to all men— to help the helpless,
to comfort the sorrowful, to give food to the
hungry, and to do well in the sphere of life in
which thou wast born."
Then the voice ceased, the gigantic figures
slowly vanished with the morning mists, and
the sun was shining when Belyn aroused him-
self. He was stiff and sore after the night spent
in the Chair of Idris, and he began to wonder
that during the unearthly watch, or sleep, or
56 " Till the Day of Judgment''
dream, or whatever it was, he had not truly
^' gone mad." As for inspiration, he was quite
sure he had received sufficient never again to
venture upon such a foolish and daring ex-
Slowly, but in a thankful spirit, he descended
"Where hast thou been?" asked the few
wayfarers who met him on the downward
" Up the mountain-side," said Belyn.
'* He's been say in' his prayers," said some jeer-
ins^ fellows lower down.
Yet Belyn left them alone.
''Hast been amono; the eas^les ? " asked a
neighbour nearer home.
Belyn remained silent. At length he ap-
proached home, and by this time the twilight
began to descend slowly upon the earth. He
paused to look back, and upw^ards towards
Cader-Idris, and it seemed to him as though the
grey and gigantic figures once more stood there
and gazed kindly downward. Distance softened
their outlines, and, instead of being objects of
terror, they appeared to be stretching forth
their arms as if breathing a benediction upon
When he reached his father s partially ruined
stronghold beyond Dolgelly, sad thoughts once
Sonnds of Revelry 57
more oppressed him, for the home, which liad
been a noble fortress in the days of Edward
the First, bore many traces of stern resistance
and pitiful defeat ; and Belyn wondered after all,
if it were not better to live in peace, and let the
chances of war to the brave, but wild warriors of
Musiug in this manner, he paused where the
dark portcullis threw its shelteriog shadow^s
around him, and night wandered soberly into
the deserted courtyard.
Suddenly he heard sounds of revelry in the
banqueting-hall, and the w^ords of Owain Cy-
veiliog, the poet-prince of Powys, rang in his
ears : —
"Fill thou the horn, for it is my delight in
the place where the defenders of our country
drink mead, and give it to Sclyt the Fearless,
the defence of Gw^^gyr. Woe to the wretch
who offends him, eagle-hearted hero, and to the
son of Madoc, the famous and generous Tudwr,
like a wolf when he seizes his prey, is his assault
on the onset. Two heroes, who were sage in
their councils but active in the field, the tw^o
sons of Ynyr, who on the day of battle were
ready for the attack, heedless of danger, famous
for their exploits. Their assault was like that
of strong lions, and they pierced their enemies
like brave warriors ; thev were lords of tbe
58 '' Till the Day of Judgment''
battle, and rushed foremost with their crimsou
lances ; the weight of their attack was not to be
withstood. Their shields were broken asunder
with much force, as the high-sounding wind on
the beach of the oreen sea, and the encroachiDS^
of the furious waves on the coast of Talgarth.
Fill, cupbearer, as thou regardest thy life . . .
the Hirlais driiikiug lioru, . . . and bring it to
Tudwr, the Eagle of Battles ; . . . give it in the
hand of Moreiddig, encourager of songs. . . ."
Belyn marvelled as to the meaning of all this
noise and revelry, the sound of the harp, the
voice of GrufFydd, the family harpist, and the
wild and frequent bursts of applause. In a
pause of the song he went onward, and, wishful
to remain unseen, sought the shadows where,
like an eavesdropper, he lingered beside the
least -used and garden entrance of the great
Once more GrufFydd swept his fingers along
the harp-chords, and resumed his song : — ^'Pour,
cupbearer, from a silver vessel, an honourable
badge of distinction. On the great plains of
Gwestine I have seen a miracle, to stop the
impetuosity of Gronwy was more than a task
for a hundred men. . . . They met their enemies
in the conflict, and their chieftain was consumed
by fire near the surges of the sea. . . . Pour the
horn to the warriors, Owain's noble heroes, who
Gruff ydd the Harpist 59
were equally active and brave. They assembled
in that renowned pLace where the shining steel
glittered ; . . . hear ye, by drinking mead, how
the lord of Cattraeth went with his warriors in
defence of his just cause, the guards of Mynyd-
dawe, about their distinguished chief. . . . Pour
out, cupbearer, sweet and well-drained mead
. . . from the horns of wild oxen covered with
gold, for the honour and the reward of the souls
of those departed heroes. ..."
Then there was another pause, more like a
sacred and solemn hush than anything else, in
which only the sounds of the swords as they
were being sheathed could be heard., after which
the tune was changed. Instead of wild martial
music, Gruffydd played a soft and subdued in-
terlude in a minor key, which seemed to soothe
the warlike spirits of all present. A moment
later, the aged and snowy-haired hnrpist recom-
menced sinojinof : — " Of the numerous cares that
surround princes no one is conscious here but
God and myself. The man who neither gives
nor takes quarter, and cannot be forced by his
enemies to abide to his word, Daniel the valiant
and beautiful. Oh, cupbearer, great is the task
to entreat him ; his men will not cease dealing
death around him until he is mollified. Cup-
bearer, our shares of mead are to be given us
equally before the bright shining tapers . . .
6o " Till the Day of Judgment
Cupbearer, slight not my commauds. May we
all be admitted into Paradise by the King of
Kings ! "
Song ceased, and, lookiiig through the door-
way, Belyn saw that the warriors' lances had
been laid aside, swords were in their scabbards,
and gold- and silver-bordered shields were heaped
together in a corner of the hall. He heard his
father Madoc calling, " My son — where is Belyn,
my son — why tarries he so long — we wait his
coming, as the thirsty flowers wait the ap-
proach of the life-giving dews, or the refreshing
rain ! " '
It was enouoii for the wanderer, who rnshed
forward, and immediately found himself locked
closely in his father's arms.
When the mutual greetings were over, Madoc,
whispering a word to the stern warrior sitting
beside him, placed his son's hand in his.
" For the sword and the honour of Wales ! "
shouted Madoc, and all the warriors united in
one wild outburst of applause.
Belyn looked bewildered.
"My son — my only son," exclaimed Madoc.
" I proudly give thy hand, and, if need be, thy
life, into the keeping of our noble leader — Owen
Glendower ! "
Belyn dared scarcely glance upw^ard.
So much for his dreams of peace !
Under Owen Glendower 6i
UiJ asked, he was placed — and by his own
father — ^in the hands of Owen Glendower, whose
deeds he so recently wished to emulate.
After some formalities, he found himself
pledged to accompany wherever he went, and to
defend the leader of the ofreat rebellion ao^aiust
the English king, Henry the Fourth.
When Belyn took his seat beside his father,
the words of the mysterious speaker rang in his
ears : " Many will go forth, and few will return."
He was not a coward, but his new dreams of
peace were dispelled, not by his own wish, but
by his father's ali-poweifiil will. Then he
thought of the grim monitor who said, "Do
well in the sphere of life in which thou wast
born," and, taking up the broken threads of his
hopes, he made a resolution to try and do his
best, even in taking up arms under the direction
of Owen Glendower.
Fiercely the conflict raged. Wild yells and
frenzied shouts of the living, and the sighs and
groans of the wounded and dying, mingled with
the ringing clash of arms, made day discordant,
and, as evening approached, they increased
rather than diminished.
Only the sea was at peace.
Scarcely a ripple marred the serene surface of
Cardigan Bay, and the wavelets seemed almost
62 " Till the Day of Judgment''
too lazy to roll along the sands, or to glide in
and out among the rocks under Harlech.
On sea and land, the red sun shed a lurid
glow that deepened towards the setting, and
illuminated the distant peaks with its beacon
Darkly in the crimson sunset, the serried hosts
fought and wavered, each pause being only the
signal for still more desperate attacks.
Here and there, on the fringes of the field,
cowled monks and solemn friars waited the re-
sult of the warfare — waited ready to administer
reviving cordials and soothing remedies to the
wounded and the dying.
Here and there, hovering around the moun-
tains, fierce eagles and hungry vultures waited,
ready to descend for prey, while hoarse-voiced
ravens croaked in resj^onse to hooded crows that
stalked the lonely shore while waiting for car-
In the front of the fray, Owen Glendower
urged his men to unceasing action, while the
opposing hosts fought and faltered, then rallied
and wavered weakly before the overwhelming
force of the enemy.
On, on pressed Glendower and his men, as
they scaled the heights and looked down on
Suddenly the red sun seemed with renewed
HarlecJi Castle 63
streDgth to glare upon the terrible scene, and, as
a vivid flash of sunset light shot across the field,
a fierce, ringing cry rent the air, and the war-
riors on the heights signalled victoriously to
their comrades, who rushed forward and upward
The vanquished forces wavered for a moment,
then rallied, and made one supreme efi'ort on-
ward, but it was too late. They were crushed
back by superior and overwhelming numbers,
and fell lifeless on the field.
Harlech was taken, and Owen Glendower held
That night, when the slender crescent of the
new moon pierced the dark blue sky, and the
star of strength shone steadily above Harlech
Castle, and the star of love gleamed peacefully
over the calm waters of Cardigan Bay, Belyn
the son of Madoc lay wounded among his com-
rades. Two years had passed since his father
gave him to Glendower and warfare, and there
was not a braver soldier in the service of rebel-
lion. He had fought in several great battles,
yet, in this — which they only regarded as a
skirmish — he was wounded, and as he thought —
He found himself, with others, amonof some
mounds close under the castle, just where the
grass was thickest, and the shcadows were darkest
64 " Till the Day of Judgment "
Belyn felt as tliougli he had been in that posi-
tion for nights instead of about two hours, when
a voice aroused him with — " If thou wouldst have
comfort and shelter, follow me."
*' I cannot," he murmured wearily. " My
wounds are great and will not permit me to
Whereupon the stranger said, " I will lift
thee ; " and forthwith Belyn found himself
raised in the great arms of one who appeared
to have Herculean strength.
It was but a short way across the fields to
carry the living burden, and the stranger soon
deposited him in the comfortable and spacious
kitchen of an ancient farmhouse.
Belyn was surprised at his good fortune, but
his wounds were so great, and his strenofth so
little, that he could not question uor make
comment of any kind.
In a few days those that remained of the
vanquished left the neighbourhood, and Glen-
dower's men held the castle while their leader
When all was quiet again, and the wounded
had either recovered or died on the field, and
Belyn was able to sit up, he found that he was
in the house of an old friend whom he had not
seen since his childhood.
Gwilym ap Howel had been his father's firmest
G wily 112 ap Howel 65
friend in days gone by, and had left Dolgelly
for Anglesea to inherit estates.
''Thy father would little look for me here,"
said Gwilym sorrowfully. '' Fallen fortunes and
loss have brought me to this place, where I
would fain live during the remainder of my
days in peace, surrounded by my good wife
and children. Mine has been a life of trouble
and foolish expenditure of time in fighting, and
all to no purpose, save that of diminishing my
At that moment a merry-eyed maiden entered
the room, and, tripping gaily up to her father,
asked when the stranger would be able to join
them ''at meals."
Without answering her,* Gwilym said, "This
is my little daughter Elined. k& soon as thou
art able to quit thy couch, I will give thee into
her care. She is as good a nurse of those that
are on a fair way to recovery, as her mother is
to those who are wounded or in dangerous
Thus it proved.
When Belyn was able to walk a little, who
should lead him but Elined, and by and by it
came to pass that the two became inseparable
Hours ran into days, and days merged into
weeks, still Belyn remained there. Love and
66 " Till the Day of JudgDient''
peace went hand in hand, while rebelliou, and
the sound thereof, vanished from the shores of
But the longest day has its end, and the time
came when Belyn, the son of Madoc, must go
from under Grwilym ap Howel's kindly roof.
When the morning for the young man's
departure came, shadows lurked around Elined's
dark eyes, her red lips drooped unusually down-
ward, and instead of her sprightly manner, her
Noticing this, Gwilym tenderly said, "We are
all sorry to see thee going. But come again.
Thou wilt always be well received."
Belyn saluted his host and hostess and. their
family in the fashion of those days, and with a
suitable escort went homeward.
For many days afterwards, Elined drooped
like a floAver bereft of sunshine, and then her
parents knew that her heart had gone with
Belyn the son of Madoc.
In the stronghold of Madoc there was great
rejoicing at the only son's return, and when the
feasts were over the father said, " Thou shalt go
no more in the train of the great Glen dower,
but take to thyself a wife, and remain here in
Then the truth came out that the world held
but one woman for him, and when the son of
Belyn and Elijied
]\Iadoc named her, Lis kinsiuan said, ''It is Ijiit
right that Belyn — from Beli, the sun — shoul']
wed Elined, Luned, or Lunet — the moon/"
Belyn, accompanied by a brilliant retiuue,
soon returned to Harlech, and anked Gw;]yijj
ap Howel for his daughter's hand, at liie same
time adding mirthfully, he knew he jjad '"'al-
ready obtained her heart/'
When Belyn returned jjorne witlj Elined Ijis
bride, few wondered she lia/l charmed liim, for
she was " passing fair/*'
In the future Belyn had every reas^^n to be
tliankful tljat Ids father "gave Jjirn to G^eri-
dower," for thereby he oljtained a good and
Belyn never again trouljled hiuiself a.bout tije
Triad that says — "So great was their hnow-
ledge of the stars, and of their natures and
influences, that they couhl fbretell whatever
any one might wish to know fAll the day of
judgrn/mty But ever to liis dyiijg jjonr lie
remembered that ni^dit in the Chair of Idris.
^bc IRaneom of Sir fl^arrv^ StraMino
OWN to the wave- worn stretches of
rocks under the cliffs and crags of
Tresilian and St. Donats, the laver-
gatherers go when the tide is high, and, as the
waters recede from the long ledges, the women
Brown, and glossy, and beautiful are the long
leaves of the sea-liverwort, called by the Welsh
country-folk laver, which, when cooked, is known
In the glorious hours of April, May, and June
the laver-gatherers are always very busy, linger-
ing among the rocks and smooth ledges where
the liverwort spreads its leaves, and stretches
them out and down into the clear sea-pools.
It is the custom of the women to fill laro^e
baskets with liverw^ort, and then bring their
burdens shoreward, where, in deep pools, they
wash and free the laver from all traces of sand.
Dymveii s Bow of Destiny 69
After that, the toilers rest awhile on the
shore auci in the caves before proceeding home-
Close beside Tresilian is a lofty, long, and
spacious caverD, which can only be entered when
the tide is out. The inhabitants of the neirii-
bourhood call it Reynold's Cave, wdiich is sup-
posed to be a corruption of Reynard's or Fox's
Cave. It faces the sea, and its most remark-
able feature is a natural arch which spans the
cave a little below the general roof. Even in
the present day, it is the custom for visitors to
try their luck in throwing pebbles over the
arch, so as to fall on the opposite side, but many
people fail to do so owing to the great height
of the cavern. The number of unavailing efforts
— after preliminary practice — made before the
arch is surmounted denotes the period of years
that must intervene before the person throwing
the pebbles will be married, or, if married, be
released by death to make another choice.
This cavern was known to the ancient Britons
as Dynwen's Cave. Dynwen was the daughter
of Brychan Brycheiniog, who flourished about
A.D. 45. The British votaries of Love were
supposed to supplicate Dynwen, who discoun-
tenanced celibacy, and presided in the cave
near Tresilian. The arch was formerly called
Dynwen's Bow of Destiny, and through hoary
70 The Ransom of Sir Harjy St7'adling
centuries, many men and maidens have con-
sulted the wave-resistingf oracle. Althous^h the
arch appears to be very close to the roof, a
boat could be rowed over it easily, and about
half a century ago a man swam above ifc at
Old and young, rich and poor alike, still try
their luck in Dynwen's Cave.
In this beautiful cave, when the June sun was
shining with almost tropical fierceness, and the
younger laver-gatherers washed the contents of
their baskets in the fresh sea-pools, the older
women rested awhile.
Cool and pleasant were the shadows in Dyn-
wen's Cave. Sea-swallows, sand-martins, and
wagtails darted and flitted over the Bow of
Destiny, or dipped down to drink of the rock-
bound streamlets that slowly trickled from ledge
to ledge, and fell with musical cadences to the
Among the rocks, just where small pebbles
and sand mingled on the floor of the cavern,
sat the old women, surrounded by a group of
merrv oirls, who, treatino^ laver-o^atherins: as
holiday work, toiled a little and rested long.
While the laver-gatherers either worked in the
burning sunshine, where the yellow sands fringed
the rocky ledges, or rested where shadows w^ere
cool and refreshing, my thoughts w^ent back to
St Donats Castle 71
the clays of old, when other generations wandered
along the shores. Like drifts of brown sea-
la ver thrown up on the sands of Time, the old
traditions and stories of this part of Glamorgan
came to my mind, and deftly as the laver-
gatherers worked among the shelving rocks, I
penetrated the nooks and crannies of the past,
and with the following results.
In the memorials of the ancient Stradlino-
family, who, in an unbroken line, from the time
of the Norman Conquest until the year 1738,
were owners of St. Donats Castle, Glamoro-an-
shire, it is thus recorded — " Sir Harry Stradling,
in the sixteenth year of the reign of King
Edward the Fourth, journeyed like others of his
ancestors to Jerusalem, where he was honoured
with the order of the Knight of the Holy
Sepulchre like his father, grandfather, and others.
This Sir Harry died in the island of Cyprus on
his return homewards, in the city of Famagusta,
and was buried there."
The family had an estate at Coombe Hawey
in Somersetshire, where they occasioually lived,
but their favourite residence was at St. Donats.
St. Donats Castle is one of the most ancient
in Wales. It is beautifully situated on the side
of a lovely but narrow glen sloping to the Severn
Sea. Cradled, as it were, among luxuriant trees,
its mossy lawns descend in terrace after terrace
72 The Ransom of Si 7" Harry Stj^adling
down to the old sea-wall, where in former times
the barracks stood.
Before the ancient castle the calm sea glitters
in the golden glow of summer, and the foam of
the cold grey waves looks like driven snow when
winter winds swell the waters, and lash them
against the rocky barriers of the dangerous coast.
On the west of the glen stand the remains
of an ancient watch-tower, which was built by
Sir Peter Stradling, " to give light to his galley
at nights when the family returned from Coombe
Hawey to St. Donats."
Other authorities said that Sir Peter — from
whom Sir Harry was sixth in descent — erected
the tower and placed a light therein, " to decoy
vessels to the dangerous rocks that extend along
the coast for some miles east and w^est of St.
Donats." "But," says an old writer, "this
kind-hearted and charitable family were far
indeed from entertaining any such intention.
It is, however, said, that the light in the tower
led some vessels astray, that were ultimately
lost on the bordering rocks ; but so far were the
Stradlings from plundering the cargoes of such
wrecks that, instead, they preserved and pro-
tected them to the utmost, for the rightful
owners — affording, also, every succour to the
In the days of Sir Harry Stradling, a notorious
pirate, known as Colyn Dolphyn, a native of
Brittany, scoured the coast, now making raids
on the English side of the Bristol Channel,
then crossing over to Wales and plundering the
According to the old chroniclers, Colyn Dolphyn
was a tall, athletic, and mighty man, "like Saul
in Israel." He ''towered head and shoulders"
over the Welsh aiid Enojish alike.
Colyn Dolphyn's name was a terror in South
Wales. At the sound of it children crouched
around their mothers, and stalwart men trembled,
and even in the present century the name of the
great pirate is a power in the home, for the
Welsh mothers and nurses still say, " Hush !
Be good children, or Colyn Dolphyn will come
ao-ain ! "
In the reign of King Henry the Sixth, a
strange beldame appeared in the neighbourhood
of St. Donats. During the day she groped away
to the shadows of gloomy glens, dark caverns,
or deep dingles, but at night she came forth and
wandered about. Her real name, the race from
which she was descended, and the manner of her
life or source of sustenance, were unknown to
any mortal. Because of lier nocturnal habits, the
peasants called her Mallt-y-Nos (Night Matilda,
or Matilda of the Night). She worked magic
and witchcraft, and it was said — thouf^h in fear
74 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
and trembling — that she was Colyn Dolphyn's
spy, and a minion of the arch-fiend himself.
One evening, as Sir Harry Stradling, accom-
panied by bis man Dewryn, went from the castle
to the watch-tower, old Mallt-y-Nos crossed their
" How now, beldame ! " exclaimed Sir Harry,
throwing her some money.
Leaning on her stafi", the old woman paused,
looked down at the money, and muttered under
her breath, " Thee 'It want a fortune of that kind
soon." Then, j)icking up the coins, she hurried
quickly under the trees towards the church and
" Mallt-y-Nos muttered some words, but 1 did
not hear them," remarked Sir Harry to Dewryn.
The man repeated the words.
" What can the hag mean ? " said Sir Harry.
" That I know not ; but she means no good,
w^e may be sure," said Dewryn.
Sir Harry and his man strode on, and soon
reached the watch-tower.
Meanwhile, Mallt-y-Nos made her way to the
Although shunned by all, turned away from
the doors of rich and poor alike, the witch was
received kindly by Lady Stradling, who bestowed
food, clothing, and sometimes money upon the
Lady Stradling 75
It was whispered abroad, that the stately
sister of William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke,
and wife of Sir Harry Stradling, was supersti-
tious, and fond of consultino- the witch, for
sometimes Mallt-y-Nos was closeted alone with
her ladyship when Sir Harry was away.
" My respects to your ladyship," said Mallt-y-
Nos, dropping a curtsey to Lady Stradliug at
the door of the great hall.
" Bid her come in," said Lady Stradling to
one of the maids.
The witch entered. As she did so, Elizabeth,
Lady Stradling, devoutly crossing herself, said,
"Pat food before her, and then send her in to
my presence. I wish to consult her as to the
properties of ground ivy."
After having partaken of the very welcome
refreshment, the witch was conducted to Lady
Stradling's room, the door of wdiich was imme-
" Your ladyship looks troubled," said the
witch, dropping a very low curtsey.
" That I am," was the reply.
" It behoves me not to ask questions of my
lady, but I should like to know what ails you,
madam ? "
" Much," was the reply. " Sir Harry is going
to Somersetshire, and it is my desire to prevent
76 TJie Ransom of Sir Harry Siradling
" Why so, my lady ? "
"Because I like not the omen he had last night."
" What was that, my lady ?"
"Heliad a bad dream. In it he was 011
a solitary island, w^here an angry sea rolled and
a tempest raged. He said I was crying and
wringing my hands, and, standing in a ship
bevond the surf, I begofed the seamen to succour
him, but they would not. I fear some harm
will befall him."
Mallt-y-Nos pondered awhile, then said, " That
dream bodes no good."
" I fear me not," said her ladyship, " and yet
I know not what to do."
" If Sir Harry will go, he will," said Mallt-y-
Nos ; " for he's a man of great determination."
" I know^ — I know," said Lady Stradling, im-
patiently, as though she wished the witch could
do something, or work magic to prevent Sir
Guessing this, Mallt-y-Nos said, " I can warn
Dewryn this very night, and that I promise you,
Then dropping a low curtsey, the witch went
That night when Dewryn crossed the park,
Mallt-y-Nos accosted him.
" Beware ! " she said, raising her thin and
boney finger ; *' beware ! "
" What danger now, liag ? " asked Dewryn,
pausing to listen.
" Beware of dangers and troubles on sea and
land, and soon — soon ! " said Mallt-y-Nos.
'^ Dangers, troubles, woe, and mischief, aro
always the burden of thy croak ! " exclaimed
Dewryn, striding away.
'' Beware ! " shouted the hag after him.
^^ Beware ! " cried the mocking echo.
The next day Sir Harry Stradling and his
men set sail for Somersetshire, wdiere the party
intended remaining for some time.
It was July when they went, and they pur-
posed returning early in August.
Tidings were received of their safe arrival in
Somersetshire, and Lady Stradling's mind was
Through July the clustering grapes ripened
in the celebrated vineyards, and the deer
browsed in the parks of St. Donats, where the
monks and friars of neio;hbourincr monasteries
and abbeys were at liberty to wander at will.
Leland in his Itinerary writes : " In. the which
space bytwixt the Castelle and the Severn is a
Parke of Falow Dere. There is a nother Park
of Kedde Deere more by Nor the West from tlie
Castelle. Tiie Parkes booth and the Castelle
long to Stradeling, a Gentilman of very fair
Landes in that Countery."
y^ The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
August came, aud with it the ripened fruits,
and corn, and barley, and truly the Givlad ar
Hdv — Land of Summer, as Glamorgan was called,
looked radiant and beautiful.
August waned, and the September moon arose
like an orb of beaten gold iu the sapphire sky.
Day after day Lady Stradling took her three
children, Thomas the heir, Blanche, and the
baby, to the terrace to watch and wait for the
return of Sir Harry, but still he came not.
In the evening of a glorious autumn day, a
small sailed skiflf was seen approaching, and in
a few minutes two of the crew landed. They
hastened to the Castle, and asked for Lady
The first question they put was, " Is Sir Harry
Stradlinof come home ? " and were answered in
" Then," said the elder man of the two, " some
ill must have befallen him."
" I fear me it must be so," said Lady Stradling,
" though we have not had a storm."
" See," said the other man, " these things
were found by the captain of a schooner off
Nash, and brought therefrom to Minehead."
The articles were a light leathern package
containing a valuable document belonging to
Sir Harry, and the figurehead of St. Barhe,
the Stradlins^ vessel.
In the " Sea Szv allow'' 79
Lady Stradling was stricken with grief as to
the fate of her husband.
The weather had been so calm and fair that
the ship could not be wrecked, but its fate was
" P'rhaps it has foundered on the Nash,"
said the people, and forthwith a search party
went to the dangerous sands, which can only be
approached in calm weather, and when the tide
There they found many tokens of the St. Barhe.
It was evident that Sir Harry and his crew
had been wrecked on the Nash Sands.
Meanwhile many weary months passed away,
during which Sir Harry Stradling, his faithful
man Dewryn, and the crew of the St. Barhe,
were kept close prisoners by Colyn Dolpliyn, on
board his barque the Sea Sivallow.
The St. Barhe, on the homeward voyage, had
been seized by the notorious pirate, and scuttled
near the Nash Sands.
In pain and sorrow, Sir Harry and his men
were kept manacled in the Sea Swalloiv, wher-
ever it sailed. Now the pirate barque, followed
by other vessels belonging to Colyn Dolphyn,
fleeted before the wind up-channel, past the
Steep and Flat Holms, and on, higher up the
Severn, then down again on the wind's wing,
8o The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
only pausing to seize some unfortunate ship, or
running into lonely parts of England and Wales,
and re-embarking with spoils from numlDerless
castles and abbeys, monasteries and farms. The
captain and crew of the St, Barhe were dispersed
among the notorious pirate's various vessels, so
that there could be no chance of mutiny or the
escape of Sir Harry.
By-and-by, after one whole year of torture
and privation for Sir Harry, it occurred to Colyn
Dolphyn that more money miglit be made by
releasing the owner of St. Donats than by keep-
ing him. Thereupon he proposed that Sir Harry
should find a ransom, but the sum named was so
high that the prisoner knew his family w^ould be
reduced to w\ant and beggary in order to pay it.
For several months, even though suffering
the pangs of hunger, tlie pains of torture, and
the taunts of the coarse and rough sea-thieves
surrounding him. Sir Harry refused to pay the
ransom. Later on he begged Colyn Dolphyn to
reduce the sum. This happened at a time when
"trade w^as dull" with the great pirate, who
then offered to take 2200 marks — ^just half the
sum he at first demanded. A messenger was
despatched to Lady Stradling and other members
of the family, who, in order to raise the sum
wanted, were compelled to sell part of the
Watching for the " Sea- Thief 8 1
According to Sir Harry's directions two ancieut
manors in Oxfordshire, the manor of Tre-Gwilym,
in the parish of Bassaleg, in Monmouthshire,
together with the manor of Sutton, in Glamorgan-
shire, were sold, and the money was sent from
St. Donats to Colyn Dolphyn.
Sir Harry, his man Dewryn, together with the
captain and crew of the St. Barhe, were handed,
ragged, penniless, and without foo'd or raiment,
on a lonely part of the coast about ninety miles
from St. Donats. Footsore and weary, the
victims of the pirate's cruelty reached St. Donats
Castle, where they were received with great
Soon after his return home. Sir Harry Strad-
ling placed arms in the ancient watch-tower, and
men who, according to an old writer, had " to
watch at night for the sea thief, Colyn Dolphyn,
who too frequently cruised along the Severn Sea
on ship-robbing intent."
Many a weary watchman had waited in vain
on both sides of the Severn Sea, for the English
and Welsh alike longed to catch Colyn Dolphyn.
But the old sea-rover was wary. He knew
where schemes and traps were laid, and carefully
In the course of time Sir Harry thought of
the old report concerning the building and
purpose of the ancient watch-tower. Pacing up
82 The Ra7iso7n of Sir Harry Stradling
and down the terraces of St. Donats Castle, Sir
Harry one day — when the white-capped waves
hurried landw^ard, and the storm-wind howled
through the grim caves on the rock-bound coast
— looked across at the watch-tower.
" Old Sir Peter kept a light in the tower,"
said Sir Harry to his faithful Dewryn, " and I
think I will follow his example. If light fails to
lure our old enemy, nothing will take him. See
that a light is put there to-morrow night."
A strong lantern was accordingly placed in
the tower, and Dewryn took charge of it. Every
morning he trimmed the lantern. Every night
he lio^hted it. The beacon lidit could be seen
far out at sea.
Colyn Dolphyn saw it and swore.
^^Ha, ha!" he cried. "Sir Peter's lamp
re-lighted ! Well, in times gone by it was a
welcome beacon to warn mariners off the wild
Welsh coast. A beacon it shall be to me hence-
forth. Good Sir Harry ! He thinks of his days
with us, and the perils of the sea ! "
November fogs glided ghostlike up the Severn
Sea, enveloping the coasts of England and Wales.
November's drizzling rain fell on land and sea
alike. Through fog and rain the old sea-rover
fearlessly sailed, for too well he knew the coast
to venture into danger.
December dawned, and with it at first came
Good Sir Harrys Beacon ! 8
sleet and beating hail, followed at the end of the
month bj wild winds and blinding snow. The
storm raged furiously. Snow fell thick and
fast, filling the frozen sails of the Sea Swallow.
Icicles clung to the mast. Icicles fell in long
fringes from the figurehead of the pirate's barque.
Colyn Dolphyn's sailors dashed the icicles from
their long hair as it froze.
The old sea-robber paced the deck, now
shouting a command, then pausing to shake the
snow from his shaggy beard and matted eye-
'' We must put in to land ! " he yelled.
"But where are we?" shouted the man at the
" Ofi' the Tuscar," responded the pirate, in
hoarse tones, as he peered through the increasing
'' A light ! A beacon light ! " cried one of the
Colyn Dolphyn gazed through the snow.
'' Good Sir Harry's beacon ! " he shouted.
"That will do. Now, make for Dunraven."
On, on, the plaything of the tempest, the frolic
of the waves, went the Sea Swallow. It was a
terrific storm ! Now, creaking and groaning in
the snow and surf; now thrust back by the
force of the waves, then hurled forward by the
relentless winds, the pirate's barque was wrested
84 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
from the captain's power. On, like a sheeted
ghost, the Sea Swallow, with sail and cordage
riven, with frosted yard and spar, and with a
half-frozen crew, was driven by the wind.
One more leap across the dark and yawning
wave chasm — one more dip down into the depths
of whirling surf and hissing spray — one more
struggle, then, groaning, creaking like a human
creature, the Sea Swalloiv struck on tlie Nasli
It was a widely scattered wreck.
In the gloom of the wintry daybreak,
through hissing spray and wind-blown surf,
Colyn Dolphyn and his crew clung for dear life
to drifting yard and spar, hoping thereby to
reach the shore. Some of the crew were eu-
gulphed in the yawning waves, and some, by
dint of clinging to the frozen wreckage, were
saved, and that on the third day before Christmas.
Sir Peter's beacon light had done its work !
Sir Harry Stradling was revenged ! Dewryn,
pacing the shore, looked keenly on. Malt-y-
Nos, groping among the snow-covered crags
and rocks, that on this coast have been hurled in
wild confusion, alternately groaned and sighed.
Sir Harry hurried to the shore. He had
tidings of the wreck, and, ready to lend a helping
hand to all " in peril on the sea," he was pre-
pared for generous action.
In Captivity 85
Yet even he hoped the wrecked ship was the
Sea Sivallow, and the lost included the old
pirate and his crew.
Foremost among those swimming from the
wrecked ship to the shore, was one whose
brawny arms and breast battled bravely with
the angry waves, and at last succeeded in
gaining a rock of safety. There, tall and erect,
in the cold of winter and the snow, stood Colyn
Dolphyn, with six of his crew. The old sea-
robber gazed around and then shouted, " Where
— where am I ? "
For answer, in the growing daylight, he was
surrounded by Sir Harry's men, and, together
with the crew of the Sea Swallow, Colyn Dolphyn
was made prisoner.
The notorious pirate and his men were manacled
and marched from the scene of the wreck to St.
Nothing daunted by the disaster, Colyn
Dolphyn, on the upward way, playfully promised
to call his confederates from the sea to join him
in Sir Harry's Christmas sports. He fully ex-
pected that if he offered a good ransom, or the
return of the sum paid for the release of Sir
Harry, the owner of St. Donats would set him
All the captives were taken to the Castle keep,
and there secured to wait until the morrow^
86 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
when, accordiDg to the old chronicles, Colyn
Dolphyn, without the aid of judge or jury, was
sentenced to death.
In solemn tones Dewryn said, " Colyn Dol-
phyn ! we doom thee, by means of wind and
twist, to writhe until thy soul and body part ! "
It was Christmas Eve. Early in the afternoon
the javelin men, aroused by a sudden trumpet
blast, assembled in the court-yard of the Castle,
and were then joined by a band of well-armed
soldiers. Soon, as a search-party, they marched
down through the glen to the shore, where,
perhaps, some lurking ship waited to land others
who would be ready to rescue Colyn Dolphyn.
The men, however, returned with the tidings
that all was clear.
At ten o'clock that night, from each battle-
ment, court, and mound, hundreds of flambeaux
The guard turned out; the javelin men grimly
surrounded Sir Harry, who, accompanied by
friends, priests, monks, and friars, went in pro-
cession to the Castle keep.
Colyn Dolphyn and his crew were brought
forth and led to the place of execution. On the
right side of the notorious pirate, one of the
Friars Minor urged him to repentance ; on the
other side, a " White Monk " tried to soothe him
by word and sign, and promise of pardon hereafter.
The Pirates Invocation ^j
Presently the dark and gloomy procession
halted before the fatal oak where the pirate was
to meet his doom. Then, according to the ancient
chronicles, a strange scene was witnessed.
The wTctched man, with a terrific orhare,
appeared to gaze upon some fearful supernatural
form seen only by him. They said he "held
converse with the Fiend," and that he " invoked
the 'Sire of Sin.'"
AVhile crowds transfixed with horror listened,
he delivered his invocation, which has thus been
rendered in verse by Taliesin, the son of lolo
Moro'anwo^ : —
" Oh thou ! full well whom I have serv'd,
From whose commands I never swerved ;
To help thy faithful follower speed !
ISTor stand aloof in hour of need !
By years that bade remorse adieu I
By deeds that ne'er repentance knew !
By murder'd infants' parting breath !
By pleading mothers dash'd to deatli !
By hands, through life in blood imbrued !
And by my soul ! with thee imbued !
Come to my aid ! avert this fate !
Our compact told a longer date.
Thine am I ! pledg'd by deed and vow !
Supreme of Darkness ! nerve me now ! "
Silence deep and profound followed the in-
vocation. Dewryn's band of armed men
pinioned Colyn Dolphyn, and soon the crowd
SS TJie Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
a,round saw the old sea-pirate suspended by his
neck from the ancient oak.
Before he breathed his last a terrible tempest
arose. In the words of Taliesin, the son of lolo
Morgan wg : —
"... Fierce the wild tornado grew ;
Their maniac forks the light'nings fling,
And demon hosts are on the wing ;
The warring winds assail the deep ;
The waves infuriate upwards leap ;
The heetling cliffs, in frequent crash,
Hurl downwards with impetuous dash ;
Fierce thunderbolts the forests rend,
And all the elements contend ! "
While the thunder pealed and the lightning
flashed across the midinght sky, and the crowd
stood in terror before the awful gallows-tree
wherefrom Colyn Dolphyn's body was suspended,
a solitary figure quickly threaded its way to the
scene of execution.
It was Mallt-y-Nos.
Under the heavy snow-encumbered branches
of the ancient oaks, she waited until the curious
crowd gladly and yet fearfully went homeward.
Some marvelled that such a storm of thunder
and lightning should occur in the winter ; some
said it was because Colyn Dolphyn invoked the
Fiend, who was not satisfied with the pirate's
latest adventures ; some said it was because the
Dead Man's Candle 89
holy Eve of Christmas was desecrated by the
execution of the sea-robber and his crew ; while
others declared in sinister tones that it was the
vengeance of Heaven expressed against Sir
Harry Stradling for having despatched the pirate
without the privilege of trial by judge and jury.
When all was quiet — when the crowd had
dispersed, and the dead bodies drooped listlessly
in the frosty air, Mallt-y-Nos crept towards. the
oak where Colyn Dolphyn hung.
In the distance, the prowling fox yelped, the
hounds howled dismally in their kennels, and
down in the glen melancholy owls hooted to
Dewryn alone, unseen among the surrounding
oaks, watched the witch in her progress.
Afterwards he said she invoked the " Fiend,"
and that there, in the loneliness, darkness, and
snow, she collected the materials necessary for
preparing the gruesome " Dead Man's Candle."
'' Then," said Dewryn, relating the story to
his fellows in the Castle, " she muttered strange
words, made strange signs, and uttered unearthly
sounds. And I saw that she was joined by three
witches of terrible aspect. They bound her hand
and foot, and, amid the smell of sulphur and
Hames of fire, she was wafted out of sight."
From that night Mallt-y-Nos was never seen
aofain. In the "Memoirs of the Stradlinos " it
90 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
is recorded that for having executed Colyn
Dolphyn without trial by jury, '' Sir Harry
Stradling, it cannot well be devised why, was
bitterly pursued at law by Henry the Sixth."
Yet another story about this romantic and
The last of the Stradlino;3 to live in St. Donats
was Sir Thomas Stradling, who was killed " in a
duel" at Montpelier, in France, on September 27,
1738, and was buried at St. Donats on March
Much mystery and suspicions of foul play
surrounded his death. Young Stradling went
abroad witli his friend Tyrwhit, and they agreed
in writing that, if any ill befell one of them, the
survivor was to inherit the other's estates.
Some said that the body conveyed from Mont-
pelier to St. Donats, and there buried, was not
the mortal frame of Thomas Stradling. Litiga-
tion for more than fifty years followed the death
of the last of the Stradlings. By that time
Tyrwhit, the claimant, was dead, and the Castle
was rented to a family named Thomas.
In the early part of the present century, when
May blossoms filled the land with beauty, and
nature looked like a fair young bride going forth
radiant and gladly to meet her groom, a strange
Lewis Thomas left St. Donats Castle in the
The Solitary Coast 91
afternoon for Tresilian. After spending some
time there, lie decided to walk homeward along
the shore instead of following the cliff line.
The tide was far out, and there was no
dano'er of beino- wave-locked. Durino^ that
deliofhtful walk Lewis Thomas thouo;ht mucli
and pleasantly of his son, who was "far out at
sea." In this state of mind he wandered slowly
along the lofty and inaccessible cliffs that
towered above him.
Far over the sea a soft golden glory lingered,
and slowly merged into the purple haze of
twilight that deepened almost imperceptibly.
When Lewis Thomas was within twenty minutes'
walk of the Castle, he thought he felt somebody
tapping his shoulder.
" It was only a fancy," he murmured, for
on the solitary coast not a person could be
seen. Only the sea-swallows darting to the
cliff cavities, and the sea-gulls flying in their
wake, were visible.
Again he felt a tap upon his shoulder, and
this time, turning round, he saw beside him a
tall bearded man, dressed as a sailor.
"What may you want?" asked Lewis Thomas
accostiuo; the strano-er.
"Tliis, only just this," said the man breatli-
lessly. " I hurried after you as fast as I could
to draw your attention to yonder cliff."
92 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
" And what of that ? " asked Lewis Thomas.
" Before three days have passed there will be
a slight, a very slight landslip there. Now, I
want you to promise me something."
"And what may that be? I do not like
making rash promises."
" You shall see ; the land will slip and thereby
lower the cliff."
"Indeed!" exclaimed Lewis Thomas doubt-
" When the land has slipped," said the
stranger, "lose no time in making a stairway
that shall lead upward from the shore to the
" Ask not," said the stranger, " but solemnly
promise you will do as I bid."
" I solemnly promise," said Lewis Thomas.
" Then farewell. There's no time to spare —
proceed wdth the work at once."
Before Lewis Thomas could respond, the
Three days later the Castle servants reported
a landslip on the very spot indicated by the
stranger. Lewis Thomas went to see it. Yes ;
there was the slip which considerably lowered
the cliffs in that part.
" This would be a good place for a way up
from the sea, in case of shipwreck or being
A Ship in Distress 93
locked in," said Lewis Thomas, who forthwith
directed his men to make the necessary pre-
parations for a rougli stairway there.
The work was completed, and the whole
countryside sang the praises of Lewus Thomas
and his work.
Months passed. September gales raged — the
Severn Sea waves rolled majestically, and their
thunders could be heard far inland. Breaksea
Point roared in response to Sker, and the
breakers around the Tuscar Eock sent their sad
wave-messages to the eddies that whirled around
the treacherous sands of Nash.
In the night of a rainy day, when the wind
w^ent down, and a dangerous white fog en-
veloped land and sea, a fog-horn was heard.
''A ship in distress," said the Castle folk,
some of whom went down to the shore as quickly
as possible. But by that time the horn ceased,
and the fog, increasing in density, prevented the
people from seeing the position of the ship.
" It has passed on safely," said one.
'' Or struck somewhere," said another.
Then the party returned to the Castle. Two
hours passed. The Castle clock struck ten.
Half an hour later the fog had lifted, and the
stars were glittering in the September sky.
About midnight loud knocking aroused the
Castle people from their beds.
94 The Ransom of Sir Harry Stradling
''Who is it? What is the matter?" asked
Lewis Thomas, opening the door.
^' We're shipwrecked mariners," was the reply.
" Pray let us in."
" To be sure, to be sure," said kindly Lewis
Thomas, throwing the door widely open, and
thinking^ of his dear son " far out at sea."
He lighted the candles, roused the servants,
and ordered fire, clothing, and food for the
'' Don't you know me ? " said a bearded man,
coming eagerly forward.
'' No," said Lewis Thomas.
" Not know me ! " exclaimed the man.
Lewis Thomas looked closely at him again.
" My son ! my son ! " he cried ; '' my only son,
whom I thought was far out at sea."
After the first joy of welcome bad passed,
Lewis Thomas asked where they w^ere wrecked.
"We would have been overwhelmed by the
tide," said the sailor son, '' but I noticed in the
half light a land-slip. We made for that, and
there found a stair leading to the fields. The
ship was wrecked, but by swimming after me
towards the slip, the caj)tain and crew^ were all
Lewis Thomas then told the story of the
mysterious stranger and his command. '' And
the stranger was no other than thou, my boy,
Lewis Thomas s Stairs 95
for now I see thou hast grown a beard," said
Lewis Thomas, who rejoiced in having performed
the promise, and so saved the life of bis son,
then " far out at sea."
From that day to this, a steep and rugged
pathway, now worn with age and partially obli-
Leading upward from the shelving cliflfs to
and through a tangle where white violets, prim-
roses, and blue bells grow in profusion, the path-
way is lost among the elderberry bushes fringing
the field beside St. Donats Castle. It is known
as "Lewis Thomas's Stairs."
?Cbe Sweet Singer of IDalle Cruets
EXPERIENCES OF THE SUPERNATURAL.
OFT and filmy mists, through which the
moonbeams occasionally strayed like
arrows of silver, filled the beautiful
Valley of the Cross, and lightly shrouded the
ruins of tbe celebrated Valle Crucis Abbey, which
was founded by Owen Gwynedd, Prince of Wales,
in 1 200.
Through the light veil of the mist the hoary
ruins loomed like a grim warden, surrounded by
a staff of sentinels guarding the resting-place of
the illustrious dead and the sacred secrets of the
There, in solemn loneliness and grandeur,
kings and princes have been laid to rest ; and
beside them mitred abbots, cowled monks, and
humble friars are sleeping their long last sleep.
There, too, where the shadows fall kindly, and
Solitary Travellers 97
the moonbeams quiver gently, lolo Goch, the
illustrious poet of Wales, has rested through the
long ceuturies that have gone by since Owen
Glendower lived at Sy earth, and the comet
which appeared, auguring good fortune and
success for the intrepid leader of Welsh insur-
Slowly through the mist and the early morn-
ing moonlight, two pedestrians w^ended their
way through the silent valley, and paused occa-
sionally to rest awhile, now on one of the stone
stiles still so numerous in AVales, and ao-ain lean-
ing against a gate to look back as far as they
could see. They were tired already, having
come a long distance, but consoled themselves
by saying, " Two miles more and we shall be in
Llangollen." There they were to join a friend
who had offered them seats in his dog-cart, bound
for a distant town.
These solitary travellers were itinerant preach-
ers, and like many of their brethren in the present
day, they often had to walk far and sometimes
The name of the one was Kobert Owen, and
the other was Eichard Ehys, both ministers of
that large community known in Wales as Cal-
In their days men were obliged to be good
walkers, for the century was young and coaches
gS Sweet Singer of Valle Cruets Abbey
were unknown in the remote parts of Wales.
Sometimes the itinerant brotherhood had the
loan of a mountain pony, but more frequently
they had to walk.
Eobert Owen and Eichard Ehys had already
walked twenty miles when they reached the
sacred Valley of the Cross. During their journey
they had whiled away the time by discussing the
views of the day, the state of religion, the spread
of infidelity, and lastly, they related anecdotes
and stories of fellow-ministers.
A great number of the itinerant preachers of
Wales are born story-mongers. All the good
and bad stories of the Principality are included
in their repertoire, and if any Englishman wishes
to increase his knowledge of *' gallant little
Wales," let him spend a holiday among the
people there in the wild highlands or the lonely
lowlands of Wales, where the itineraut preachers
are still to be found as " thick as leaves in Val-
In the ancient farmhouses of Wales, where
once devout men of another creed — men whose
carved crucifixes, quaintly bound missals, and
curious rosaries, proved like a talisman every-
where — the itinerant preachers of Wales are to
be seen. Cowled monk, mendicant friar, and
wandering priest, who wended their way through
the gloomy glens, shadowed ravines, or mountain
Old Faith m Fairy Folk 99
passes, have been succeeded by the great dissent-
ing brotherhood for which Wales is celebrated.
In the days of Eobert Owen and Eichard
Khys, people believed in ghosts, though the old
faith in fairy folk was gradually but steadily
waning. Long before the travellers had reached
the abbey, conversation turned to these subjects.
"Do you believe that there ever were such
beings as fairies ? " asked Koberb Owen.
" You ask me a question difficult to answer,"
said Eichard Ehys in his cpaint and slow fashion.
" There were such beings — as giants — in times
gone by ; that we know — for a certainty. And
— if there were — giants — why — should not there
have been — dwarfs ? "
" But surely it would be impossible for such
tiny little creatures as fairy-folk to exist. I
have heard my mother talking about the Tylwyth
Teg and Bendith-i-Mamau as if she knew them
" Perhaps she did," said Eichard Ehys, the
elder man of the two.
" I couldn't believe it," said Eobert Owen.
" Not believe your own mother ! Oh ! " said
"Very likely it was only a fancy of hers,"
continued Eobert Owen. "Her great-grand-
mother, her grandmother, and her mother be-
lieved in fairies, and it was only natural that
lOO Sweet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey
my mother should inherit the belief. Did your
mother believe in fairies ? "
" She did, and my grandmother too. I will
tell you a story about my grandmother," said
Richard Rhys. '' I've heard her tell it many a
time. In the early days of her married life my
father, a small farmer, had a hard struggle to
get along. Times were bad, the family w^as
increasing, and the harvests were small. One
day my grandmother lamented to herself about
the near approach of rent-day, and no money to
meet it. Mv oTandfather was out workino; on
the farm, and the children were playing in the
yard. Just as my grandmother w\as thinking
like this, she heard a knock at the door. ' Come
in,' said my grandmother, and in walked a little
old woman dressed in a green gown, with a red
cloak and hood, and a tall extinguisher hat.
She was one of the ' little people,' she said, and
had come to help my grandmother. The fairy
told grandmother to go in the dusk of the even-
ing to the cross roads, and turn to the one lead-
ing to Ruabou. Grandmother went, and was
met by a fairy man, who gave her sufficient
money to pay the reut, and afterwards, when-
ever she wanted money, she went there, and the
fairies supplied her."
Robert Owen discredited the story, but did
not make any comment on it.
At Machynlleth loi
After a brief silence Robert Owen said, '' Well,
come now. Turniug from fairies, do you believe
that disembodied spirits return to earth — that
ghosts haunt any particular spot or person ? "
" I do," said Richard Rhys firmly.
" And I do not," said Robert Owen decidedly.
"But T would like to have the proofs of your
"That you shall," said Richard Rhys. ''Twenty-
five years ago I had to fill another preacher's
place in the Association held at Machynlleth.
When I got there I found nearly every house
filled with strangers from all parts, and the
deacon had so many visitors himself that several
of us had to sleep out. I was one of them.
But first let me tell you that I had never been
in the town before, and I knew nothing about
it at all. The house I had to put up in was
very ancient, and I could see it would soon
tumble down. Soon after supper the first night
I went to bed early. My room I found to be
very large — too big for a bedroom. In it was
a great four-posted bed, a good-sized round table
of solid oak, and other furniture besides. Tired
after the long journey I soon fell asleep, and
suppose I must have slept for several hours,
when a noise in the house disturbed me. At
first I thouo^ht somethinof had fallen to the floor
in the next room, but by-and-by, when more
I02 Sweet Singer of Valle Crticis Abbey
sounds came, I could hear the tramp of many
feet on the stairs. Suddenly the door of my
room flew open, and in walked a troop of men,
I could see them as plain as possible, because
the moonlight was as bright as day. And what
I thought most odd was that all the men were
dressed as armed men of hundreds of years ago.
One of the men planted himself by the chimney-
piece, and the others stood before him. Although
I was very fearful, I sat bolt upright in bed to
look at them. Some were fierce-looking, others
were milder, but all were armed, and all wore
swords. The men seemed to be debating, and
the leader was apparently giving directions,
when one of the number rushed forward, and
lifting his sword attempted to kill the leader.
In the twinkling of an eye the head man sprang
aside, and the assassin was foiled. Terrible
noise followed, and I could hear the clatter of
arms, and the clash of swords as the men
crowded around the fellow, who had tried to
slay tbeir leader. Then, as strangely as they
came in, they tramped out of the room, and I
heard the sound of their feet going downstairs
and out to the road."
" And what followed ? " asked Robert Owen.
" I got up at once," continued Eichard Ehys,
" and I looked out, but all was as quiet as the
grave. Before I left the town I told the deacon
The " Parliament House
what had happened, and he had heard the house
" Did you ever find out anything more about
the place ? " asked Eobert Owen.
''Not then/' replied Eichard Rhys, ''but a
year later I met a preacher who saw exactly
what I had seeu. It appears he found out that
the old dwelling was called the ' Parliament
House,' and there in 1402 Owen Glendower nar-
rowly escaped being assassinated by Sir David
Gam, the Fluellin of Shakespeare."
" Have you another proof of your belief in
ghosts ? " asked Robert Owen.
" Yes ; one of my own and one of my fathers,"
said Richard Rhys. " Seven years ago I was do\Yn
in Aberedwy, dear Builth, Breconshire. I had to
preach twice on the Sunday and one week night
in Builth. The deacon was a blacksmith, and
lived next door to the smithy. The weather was
very cold, and everybody believed snow would
soon fall. It was late when I got to Aberedwy on
the Saturday night, and late when we went to bed.
In the dead of the night I felt cold, and got up to
put some more blankets that the deacon's wife
had placed on a chair by the bed. Just then I
heard a voice by the blacksmith's shop, and it
sounded to me as thous^h the smith was shoeins^
a horse, but it could not be that at two o'clock
on a Sunday morning. I got up and looked out.
I04 Sweet Singer of Valle Ci'7icis Abbey
Snow was coverino^ the road, and the moon was
shiniijg. Down by the forge a man was stand-
ing while the blacksmith shod the horse. I
thought it something important, or a man would
never come to shoe his horse at such an untimely
hour. Well, I saw the stranger remount his
horse, and ride off, and when he was gone I
saw a curious sight. In the snow, the mark of
the horse's hoofs were the wrong way around.
The smith had sliod the horse backward. I
didn't then tell the deacon a word about what
I saw, but next time I went to Builth, I heard
that another preacher had seen the same sight :
I was told it was the ghost of Prince Llewelyn,
who rode to the smithy at Aberedwy to have his
horse shod backward in order to defeat the
enemy. Now, the other ghost story was told
by my father. In his age, he was then over
seventy, he preached one Sunday night at
Meifod in Montgomery, and after service he
had to go to Llanfyllin on the Vyrnwy, six
miles away. It was a dark, wet, and windy
night in December. My father, mounted on a
merlyn, rode on very comfortably for two miles
or more. Then the horse stood quite still. He
tried to make it go on, but it would not. Then
he heard a rustling noise in the hedge on the
roadside. A minute later, a very tall gigantic
figure appeared on the road. It stretched out
'' For your Life go back " 105
its arms as wide as ever it could, and made a
kind of barrier across the way. My father rode
nearer to it, and implored it in the name of the
Lord to speak. He heard a sound like the
rushing of a flood, and then the phantom, with-
out moving, said, '' For your life go back." My
father was so much astonished that he turned
the horse's head, and rode back to Meifod. It
was' lucky he did, for next morning the news
came to Meifod that about the time my father
was stopped on the road, a man was attacked
and murdered by a gang of highwaymen. If
my father had ridden on, he would have shared
the same fate. The spectre on the road was a
warning from the Lord. Now, what have you
to say about ghosts ? "
Eobert Owen did not r^eply.
" Do you believe in special interposition of
Providence ? " asked Eichard Ehys.
" I have no reason to disbelieve, seeing I
never had any experience in that way," said
By this time the preachers approached the
ruined Abbey of Valle Crucis.
" It is many years since I last saw the old
place," remarked Eichard Ehys.
" And I have never been here before," said
Eobert Owen. " There is time to take a look
around, I suppose ? "
io6 Sweet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey
" Plenty, plenty," said the older man.
By this time the mists began to melt away,
the mornino; moonliorht faded, and the shadows
grew longer and deeper among the rnins as day-
"It's a grand old place," remarked Robert
" Very," said Eichard Rhys, who began moral-
ising on the vanity of human desires and the
scattered vestio^es of what he called '^ ecclesiastical
Just as he came to a peroration on the subject
a sound was heard comino^ from the distance.
It was the voice of a singer, singing in the
The preachers listened for a few minutes, and
then Robert Owen said, " Let us go and see
who it is."
"No, lio," replied Richard Rhys, "if we do
that we shall stop the singer."
Robert Owen obeyed his friend ; at the same
time he ventured, as the children say, "to have
He just caught a glimpse, no more, of the long
and somewhat broad shadow, apparently of a
man, across the spot where once costly marble
chancel pavement was to be seen.
Then, fearing to disturb the singer, he drew
The '^ Dies Irae^^ 107
The preachers withdrew to a secluded corner
of tbe ruins, and there listened as if spellbound.
To the humble and simple preachers the
singiug was mysterious, and in a language
unknown to them.
At first the singer appeared to be practising a
few bars, then he went on, and by-and-by began
siuoino^ the OTand old ^' Dies /7'ae" in Latin.
Although the preachers did not understand a
word of the hymn, the melody and the manner
of singing enthralled them, especially when the
singer sang the more pathetic parts. Both
Eichard Khys and Kobert Owen w^ould have
felt greater sympathy had they know^n the
meaning of the words —
"Recordare, Jesii pie
Quod Slim causa tuse vise,
iSTe me perdas ilia die,
Qusereus me sedisti lassus,
Redemisti crucem passus,
Tantus labor non sit cassus."
The singer threw wonderfully deep and pathetic
expression into the hymn, and when the sweetly
sad but powerful voice ceased, Eichard Ehys
grasped Eobert Owen's hand, as though he felt
shaken to the soul by the grandeur of the sing-
ing. There was a pause for a moment only, and
it seemed to the listeners that the heavens had
io8 Szueet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey
opened, and a voice from on liigli began singing
another liymn, bub still in the same unknown
tongue. It ^vas tlie sixth "Penitential Psalm,"
the grand '' De Profundis,'' truly the cry of a
contrite heart imploring tlie Divine mercy. Then
as if to fully practise the beautiful Psalm, the
singer commenced singing in English —
" Out of tlie depths have I cried unto Thee, Lord.
Lord, hear my voice. . . .
. . . With Him is plentiful redemption . . .
. . . Let perpetual light shine upon them . . .
May they rest in peace ! "
Then the singer ceased. Tears fill the eyes
of the preachers, who, although they understood
very little English, knew enough to recognise
some of the leading passages.
How long they had stood listening to that
wonderful and melodious voice, neither Eichard
Rhys nor Robert Owen could tell.
This they knew, and this alone. Morning
moonlight filled the land with chastened splendour
when they entered the ruins of Yalle Crucis
Abbey, and when they turned to proceed to
Llangollen the sun was fairly high in the heavens.
And they knew at last, such had been the power
of the singer of those holy and mystic melodies,
that hours had passed by like a dream of de-
The Valley of the Cross 109
" Did you ever hear anything like it ? " asked
Eobert Owen in enraptured ecstasy.
"Never," exclaimed Koberfc Ehys. "It was
truly wonderfid, wonderful."
"Whoever the singer was he had a orand
voice," said Eobert Owen.
" Yes," said Richard Rhys, " but I fear me
we have tarried too long, We shall not get to
Llangollen in time to go off with Morgan Wynne.
That is a pity."
"Well," said Robert Owen, "a voice like that
is only heard once in a lifetime, and Td rather
miss the doo^-cart than lose hearino; those divine
strains divinely rendered."
The preachers left the ruins and passed by the
ancient fish-pond, where once the friars fished
and abbots partook of the contents of the
anglers' baskets ; then they walked from the
lovely Valley of the Cross, and reached the road
leaclino; to Llano-olleD.
They arrived at Morgan AVynne's house, on
the outskirts of the town of Llangollen, to find
their friend had taken his departure without them.
"How long is he gone ? " asked Robert Oweu.
"About three hours ago," replied Mrs.
" That is all because we listened so long on
the way," said Richard Rhys. " It was foolish
to do so."
I lo Sweet Singer of Valle Crucis Abbey
" I don't know so much about that," said
After refreshment and rest, the preachers
were obliged to resume their journey. It was
somewhat auuoying to have to walk when they
had an opportunity of being driven.
How foolish they were to loiter on their way !
How foolish it was to listen to the sweet and
mysterious singer !
But were they foolish ?
For answer they met a horseman half way
between Llangollen and their destination. He
was riding post haste.
" Bad news," he breathlessly shouted, and
halted a momeut : " Morgan Wynne and his
brother have met with an awful accident. The
horse took fright and ran away. John was
thrown out and killed on the spot ; Morgan has
been badly injured, and is only barely sensible."
Then the horseman rode on with the news to
Robert Owen and Richard Rhys proceeded to
the place where the accident occurred. In a
cottage close by, they found Morgan Wynne just
able to recognise them, and poor John's dead
body laid on a bed in the next room.
The preachers in one voice offered up their
prayerful thanks to God for their safe deliver-
ance from peril, and perhaps death.
Deliverance fro7n Peril 1 1 1
Eichard Ehys declared his belief that tlie
voice in the ruined abbey was the special and
merciful interposition of Providence to retard
their progress and shield them from danger.
Robert Owen attained a good old age, and to
the end of his life he attributed his safety on
that perilous occasion to the wonderful, mys-
terious, and sweet spirit-singer of Valle Crucis
',n ^'^^ "m^
. '-^n'V'^i^'^^^':-^-^'- <vr
^be 6boet of the 6atc=='1bou6e.
ACK, the stable-boy at the Old Farm,
had been asked to do something very
strange, and he puzzled his head as to
" what the world was coming to," but having
promised to remain silent, he kept his word.
His young master, Meredith Gwyn, told him
to saddle the roan mare Euby as soon as the
old master was safely in bed, and to say " nothing
to nobody." The old gentleman farmer, who
was also a J. P., seldom retired much before
midnight, and it was about a quarter after
twelve when the young master appeared, booted
and spurred, with hunting-crop in hand, and
fully dressed for riding.
Jack thought it " uncommon odd," for the
young farmer to be " goin' off like that between
twelve an' one o' the mornin'."
" The mare's in splendid trim for a long ride,"
ventured Jack, as his master mounted.
" Hold you're tongue, will you ? " said Meredith
In the Starlit Morninp'
Gwyn, in a rough whisper, as he gave a piece
of silver to the boy. " Don't say a word to
"Eight, sir," said Jack, touching his cap.
"Now, lead the mare quietly out," said
Meredith, " and when I'm gone, see that the
o:ate is shut. Be here ac^ain at four to the
" Eight, sir," said Jack, who, after his young
master had gone, turned into the stable-room,
and began to muse.
" P'rhaps he's in love," he murmured to him-
self, " but 'tis an odd time to go a courtin'."
After speculating for more than half-an-hour.
Jack fell asleep, but was awakened by the thought
that his master must be admitted as quietly as
he made his exit. So he rubbed his eyes, and
began to think of his sweetheart, who was the
prettiest girl in the village, or for the matter of
that, in the whole Yale of Glamorgan.
It w^as four o'clock in the starlit mornino-
when Meredith Gvvvn returned home, and ^ave
his horse into Jack's charge.
" Not a word," said the young master.
" Eight, sir," repeated Jack.
At the same time he had his " thoughts,"
when he observed that Euby was covered with
mud, and bespattered even to her ears. He
then remembered that Master Meredith looked
1 1 4 The Ghost of the Gate-House
as though he had been out hunting in the worst
" It's a rum go," muttered Jack in his own
The morning passed, and breakfast - time
"Thee'rt half asleep," said Will Morris, the
general mau, to Jack.
" I kept awake half the night," was the reply.
'' I had the rheums tbat bad "
*' Who left the hay-loft door open last night,
I should like to know ? " continued the okl man.
" I didn't," said Jack.
" Nor did I," remarked Will Morris, with
something like a nasty jeer.
After breakfast the old man went to the
stables, and, when there, called Jack to him.
"Take thee care," said Will ]\Iorris, "that
thee'st got nothin to do with Kebecca and her
daughters, or, as sure as I be alive, I'll be the
death of thee."
Will Morris, the general man at the Old Farm,
was Jack's uncle, and therefore felt he had a
right to do as he liked with the lad.
"I've never had any dealin's with Eebecca
and her gang," said Jack sulkily.
All he knew about Rebecca was what he heard
first hand in the Old Farm from his uncle, or
second hand in the villao;e from the idlers.
" lis Bad Btisiness " 115
While the master of the Old Farm and his
family were seated at dinner, the news came that
one of the turnpike gates, near Peterstone, had
been destroyed, and the gate-house was burnt
to the orrouncl.
A few minutes later the gate-keeper himself
came, and asked to see the farmer and masjis-
" Bring him in here," said Mr. Meredith, who
was too eager for news to wait until after dinner.
"Well, wliat about it, Daniel?" asked Mr.
'' It did happen like lightning," said Daniel.
"They did ride up thirty or forty of 'em, all in
women's dresses, an' their faces was as black as
the chimney backs, an' they did lay hold on me,
an' carry me off to the blacksmith's shop, an'
there they did keep me, while they did break
down the gate, an' did burn the house to the
Daniel, having delivered his message, went
"It's bad business," remarked the master after
the old man had taken his departure. " Some-
thing must be done to put a stop to it. But
what can be done, bothers my head."
Day by day the demolition of the toll-gates
increased ; brutality was frequent, and occasion-
ally murder was committed.
1 1 6 TJie Ghost of the Gate-Hotise
Cue morninof in December news reached
Peterstone, that all along the main coach road,
from Carmarthen upward, the gates were being
destroyed, and sad havoc was wrought. People
in terror bolted and barred their doors, barri-
caded their windows, and prej^ared for the
coming of Eebecca and her daughters. Children,
almost frightened to death, cowered in safe
corners, and women whimpered and turned pale
" It's cruel times," said those quiet men, who
felt it their duty to leave work and stay at home
to protect the women, the children, and the
All along the main road, from Cowbridge to
Cardiff, people were ready to receive Rebecca
and her daughters. The gate-houses were forti-
fied as best they could be, and the keepers
thereof, while still remaining true as possible
under the circumstances to their posts, acted as
a rule upon the principle of the man who
" He M'ho figlits, and runs away,
Will be able to figlit another day."
In the " dead of the night," Cowbridge toll-
gate was destroyed, and, tired after arduous
work, Rebecca and her minions disbanded for
what they called " a few days' rest." Wliere
The '' Old Post'' 117
they went, nobody knew ; but even these
riotous ladies needed a little respite, and natu-
rally nobody begrudged it them. People only
wished they would always rest, and never re-
sume their nefarious occupation. Those who
w^aited in the neighbourhood of the next toll-
gate — that of Bon vil stone — shivered in their
shoes, for they knew well that Kebecca would
soon be with them.
The day after the demolition of the Cowbridge
toll-gate was bitterly cold. It had been freezing
for days, aud the leaden sky promised snow^
Pedestrians were glad to turn in to the " Old
Post," a well-known and ancient hostelry near
Bonvilstone, on the main road between Cardiff
and Cowbridge. Travellers driving gave their
horses a feed, and meanwhile went in and
warmed themselves awhile before continuing the
journey westward to Cowbridge, or eastward
Conversation naturally turned on the tyranny
of turnpikes, though people felt that Rebecca
went *' too far " in injuring harmless gate-
keepers, and frightening innocent women and
*' I got to pay six turnpikes 'fore I can get
a penn'orth of coal," grumbled a coal vendor
present. "An' what's more, I do pay eight
turnpikes 'fore I can sell a bit anyw^here."
1 1 8 The Ghost of the Gate- House
The man lustily cudgelled the table with his
"Well, then, why d' ye grumble about Rebecca ? "
asked a hoarse-voiced cattle-drover, bringing his
blackthorn down with a thud upon the arm of
" 'Cause he do want the turnpikes to come
down, only for him not to be in the pickle,"
said a farmer, poking the landlord's dog with
Party feelings ran high, and when the com-
motion was on the verge of a brawl, the thin,
weazened little tailor of the village entered,
and in a squeaking voice said, "I'll venture
my life, Eebecca'U be 'fraid of our turnpike."
This remark immediately diverted the atten-
tion of the brawlers.
" Why should she be 'feard o' your turnpik'
more'n any other ?" asked the coal vendor.
"Is it fire-proof ?" croaked the cattle-dealer,
who suffered from chronic hoarseness.
" P'rhaps 'tis going to surrender without a
word," sneered the farmer.
" Neither," replied the tailor. " It's jest this.
There's a mystery 'bout our gate-house, that's
The men were angry, and clamoured to know
what the mystery was.
"Think I'm goin' to tell?" asked the tailor
From Rebecca to Ghosts 1 1 9
provokingly. "No, not I. P'riiaps you be
daughters of Rebecca, for all I can say."
The noise was greater now, and the men were
for ''screwing the tailor's neck off," as they said,
but the landlord interfered, and matters were
amicably settled by the explanation that the
gate-house was haunted.
" At least, so they do say," said the landlord
of the " Old Post," and his word was a bond
that the county would accept.
" Well, all I can say is that Rebecca will lay
the ghost," said the drover.
" Ghosts," corrected the tailor.
'' Ghostesses, if you do like," said the coal
vendor. '' But I've come this way all hours o'
day an' night, an' I never see'd a ghost there
yet, though" — and he lowered his voice — '' I've
seen one on the road by Llantrythid church.
They do say 'tis the ghost of one of the Aubreys
who corned to his end 'bout there."
So the conversation ran on, from Rebecca to
ghosts, and from them to all sorts of nonsense,
until the afternoon waned, and people resumed
their various routes.
White, and staring, and bald, the turnpike gate
of Bonvilstone looked in the haggard twilight,
when the dark grey snow-clouds gathered, and
from the north-east a withering wind came
search ingly along the highway.
I20 The GJiost of the Gate- House
As night approached the cold increased, and
before nine o'clock the wind, rising higher, pre-
vented the expected snowfall.
Just before midnight, when darkness was
greatest and the roadway was almost deserted,
two men passed the " Old Post," and walked
towards Bon vils tone. As they approached the
gate-house, and were within about a hundred
yards from the cottages near it, one of the men
said to the other, " Ben, did you hear that
noise ? "
" What noise, Tom ? " asked Ben.
'■' Like a groan."
" Go along with 3^ou — I didn't hear any noise."
- Well, I did."
The men stood still.
" There ; I heard it again," said Tom. " Keep
quiet, Ben, and you'll liear it."
Tom and Ben paused to listen.
It was a groan — a deep, wretched groan, that
made the men shiver, and imagine all sorts of
dreadful things. The sound appeared to come
from a distance, and to proceed from the east
rather than the west.
Then there was a pause, during which the
wind w^histled in the trees, and sobbed around
the scattered cottages near the gate-house.
'' I can never go by," said Tom.
" Bless me, you ninny," said Ben. " Come on.
Terror-Stricken 1 2 1
'Tis only the wind ; " and making a brave effort,
they strode on.
Presently they came again to a *' standstill."
" There 'tis again," said Tom.
It was the groan as of one in mortal pain or
soul agony, and as it fell off into a kind of wail,
the men clutched each other's arms in terror.
Strange sounds had been recently heard in
that neighbourhood, and report gave them the
credit, or otherwise, of being supernatural.
As the men approached the gate-house, they
found something worse in store. In the dense
darkness of the night, they both, and at the
same moment, saw what was locally known as
'^ the ghost of the gate-house."
There it stood, as though undaunted by mortal
gaze, and waved its arms to and fro in the night,
while its deep and heavy groans made the strong
Tom and Ben turned back as quickly as they
could, and when within a fair distance they
" I'd rather walk every step of the w^ay home
again than pass there to night," said Tom, and
Ben agreed with him.
Yet they were ashamed of their cowardice.
While the men pondered as to what was best
to be done, they heard the sound of horses, and
turned aside just in time to escape three of
122 The Ghost of the Gate- House
Eebecca's scouts, who rode up within a hundred
yards of the gate-house, remained there a few
seconds, and returned as quickly as possible.
"'Twas some of Rebecca's men," muttered
" Are you sure of it ? " asked Ben.
" I'm too used to the sound of them," said
The men then retraced their steps, and sought
shelter for the night in the " Old Post."
In the morning they related their experiences
to the landlord, and much amusement was
created when the men stated their belief that
Rebecca's scouts had been frightened by the
Soon after twelve o'clock the next night
Meredith Gwyn mounted Ruby, and this time
Jack thought he would be equal with his master.
In the evening of the previous day, he laid a
plan with a friend to have a horse ready near
the foot of the hill leading to the main road, and
there he intended mounting and following the
young master, who of late went either to Bonvil-
stone or St. Nicholas.
It was a daring resolution, but Jack had
sufficient pluck for anything excepting to face
his uncle's anger, and this time he risked even
Jack ran as quickly as he could after his
Meredith Gwyn 123
youDg master, and mounted the horse that
waited for him. The night ^yas dark, and all
Jack could do was to follow — cautiously, and at
a safe distance — the sound of Ruby's hoofs.
Meredith Gwyn ascended the hill, and then
rode hard and fast along the highway, until he
reached the eastern side of the toll-gate at
Bonvilstone. There he was joined by several
other horsemen, who, congregated together,
appeared to have been waiting his coming.
Two of these men rode w^estward to the gate-
house, and quickly returned. A conversation
was held, and a few minutes later the w^hole
company rode onward a few paces to the toll-
gate. There they quietly, and without noise,
removed the s^ate from its hins^es, threw it over
into a field, and rode on towards Cardiff.
Jack at a discreet distance followed until the
party reached Cotterell, an.d then he returned to
Peterstone, gave the horse to his friend, and
then went home to wait for his young master.
In great sorrow of heart, he had discovered
that Meredith Gwyn was a friend of Rebecca, if
not actually one of '*her daughters," and the
knowledge was almost more than he could
At four o'clock Meredith Gwyn returned, not
in the least the wiser as to the part of spy that
had been played by his servant.
124 T^^^ Ghost of the Gate- House
Three days later all the toll-gates from Cow-
bridge to Cardiff were totally destroyed and
burnt with their respective gate-houses. Only
the gate-house at Bonvilstone escaped. That
was left intact and untouched, and the barred
gate was found in a field close by.
Then the question arose, why had that obstacle
been left unmolested, and the tailor said it was
because of the ghost. A few years afterwards it
was reported that tlie ghost and the tailor were
one and the same person.
Meredith Gwyn was " suspected " immediately
after his latest midnight ride, but money saved
him, and he quitted Wales for America, never to
Eebecca subsequently returning, totally de-
molished the Bonvilstone toll-gate, and thus
laid the " ghost of the gate-house."
Zbc JfUobt of tbe flDeii\Mt.
N the year 1789 there was no prettier
village in North Wales than Llanwd-
djn, which formerly stood between
Llaiifyllyn and Bala. It was a secluded and
solitary spot, surrounded by bleak moors and
grand but gloomy mountains that cast their
shadows across the country, and looked like
sentinels of grim secrets locked in the jDlains
below. The old Llanwddyn is no longer in
In former days it was like a fairy oasis in a
region that at first sight appeared dull and
dreary, but afterwards revealed scenes of varied
beauty and unsurpassed grandeur.
Eound about Llanwddyn the farms and
houses were badly built and untidily kept, but
the village itself was compact and orderly, each
cottage having its flower-garden and orchard,
which in the season of blossoms caused the little
26 The Flight of the Merly
spot to look like a glimpse of Eden among the
dark and dreary barriers of the world.
All the farms in the neighbourhood were —
as they still are in that district — chiefly famed
for their pasture lands, upon which were reared
hundreds of black cattle of a small kind, and a
peculiar sort of ponies called merlyns. Great
trade in cattle, sheep, and ponies was carried on
between the farmers and the cattle-dealers, who
visited the district periodically for the purpose.
Cattle-dealers from the South, pausing on their
way to Bala, always praised the housewives of
Llanwddyn for their clean and orderly houses,
which, though antique in design, and for the
most part bearing evidences of the ravages of
time, were at least domestic strongholds with
walls, in most instances from three to five feet
thick. Some of those houses dated back beyond
the days when Owen Glendower rebelled against
Henry lY., and, witli a strong body of sturdy
and desperate men, scoured the country, and
attacked castle and cottage alike.
Llanwddyn, in the year 1 789, bore a few traces
of Glendower's rebellion and Cromwell's scouts,
but the village escaped grave mutilation because
the wandering rebels were bound for Bala or
Not far from Llanwddyn, and just where the
bleak and heather-crowned moorlands met the
Nant-y- Garth 1 2 7
base of one of the grim mountain ranges, there
was a narrow ravine. In the topography of
Merionethshire the name of this ravine was not
recorded, but from time immemorial it had
been called the Nant-y-Gartb, which means the
ravine or dii]gle leading to a ridge, a hill, or a
mountain. Nant-y-Garth was a steep ravine,
winding upwards from the moorlands to the
mountains. Its grey cliffs were covered with
richly -tinted mosses, and in every nook and
cranny all kinds of ferns grew in profusion.
Gnarled and ancient oaks stretched forth their
arms, as if yearning to reach the light that fell
brokenly through the trees on the tops of the
high cliffs. It was a very lonely spot. The
morning sunlight penetrated half-way through
the ravine, and then passed away, leaving the
shadows to grow darker and the grey cliffs to
look more foreboding than ever. In the winter,
the mountain streamlets made a broad pathway
in the rocky road, and kept the place clean and
free from earth, and in the summer, pedestrians,
wishino' to ascend to the heio^hts, could do so
with comparative ease and comfort. Down
through Nant-y-Garth the shepherds brought
their sheep from the sheep-walks among the
mountains, and the cow-boys, driving their herds
of small black cattle from the higher table-lands,
selected this ravine as the nearest way home.
1 28 The Flight of the Merlyn
Nant-y-Gcirtli was about half-a-mile long, and
termiuated near the first ridge of the mountain
range. At the summit of the ravine, sheltered
by a grove of stunted and weather-beaten oaks,
was a little half tumbled-down cottage, which
had once been a small and poor farmstead. The
mountain streamlets passed it by, but the rnins
and the action of the weather had battered the
outhouses, and only the house itself remained.
It was the dwelling-place of a farmer's herdsman,
whose father and grandfather had occupied the
Twm O'Garth, as he was called, was a bachelor
of sixty, living with his mother, who was known
in Llanwddyn as Betty Barebones, a beldame of
eighty. People were afraid of Betty, because
she was supposed to have supernatural power,
and to be able to dispense good or bad luck to
willing or unwilling recipients. The gossips said
where she willed it, she could do Q^reat Hood or
do evil with equal power.
Betw^een the months of March and September,
Betty, even at the age of eighty, would descend
to the valley villages. After that she was seen
no more until the month of wild winds brought
the crocuses and catkins.
In the wdnter Twm O'Garth looked after the
merlyns, or mountain ponies, and worked in the
woods for his master, a gentleman farmer in
Betty Barebones 129
Llariwddyi], but iti the suDimer be attended to
the vast berds of small black cattle tbat browsed
upon the mountain sides.
Very few people ever visited Twm at home.
Betty Barebones was the obstacle in the w^ay.
But Twm regularly descended through Nant-y-
Garth to the " King's Head " in Llanwddyn,
there to smoke his pipe, drink his civvw, and
hear the latest news from the cattle-dealers
and drovers that frequented the old Tudor
In the earlier days of her son's life, Betty
remonstrated with Twm upon the frequency of
his visits to the " King's Head," but the habit
inherited from three generations of ancestors
remained unbroken, and the herdsman at last
went his way unreproved.
Betty spent the greater part of her time in
collecting herbs, and making infusions thereof,
which she sold for a good price in the surround-
ing villages, and once a week from " spring-time
to fall," she went with the carrier to Bala — a
distance of about eioht miles — and there dis-
posed of her herb teas and herb beers. Rue tea
for epileptic patients, dandelion tea for affections
of the liver, tonics for the weak, and cooling
concoctions for the robust, with other infusions,
were prepared and sold by her. She made all
sorts of healing and soothing ointments, plaisters,
1 30 The Flight of the Merlyn
embrocations for the " rheumatics," drops for the
"rheums," and liniments for sprains, strains,
broken bones, and bruises.
Tiie old woman obtained her sobriquet of
Betty Barebones because she was tall and thin,
and, as the villagers said, " more like a skileton "
(skeleton) than a living woman. There was ''a
bit of the witch about her," the people said, and
everybody believed her to be gifted with second
sight, and the power of foretelling future events.
She made a rhyme, which ran thus —
" Llanwddyn's tower shall tumble down ;
A llyn (lake) shall fill the moorlands brown ;
A llyn shall flood the pasture lands,
And waters shall be where earth now stands.
" House and home, and orchard wall,
By the hand of man shall fall ;
Llanwddyn shall become a llyn.
Then may Bala shake within."
The cattle-drovers in the '' King's Head "
kitchen ridiculed Betty Barebones rhyme, and
the horse-dealers and others in the tavern parlour
declared the old Avoman was witless.
'•'Twni O'Garth, dost thee believe thy mother
did mean what she did put in the verses? " asked
" Iss inteed to goodness, I do believe it as sure
as I be a livin' man," replied Twm. " She's un-
A^non^ the Drovers 1 3 1
common odd, an' wuss as she do get older.
Miud you now, 'tis no great shakes livin' with
" Why ? " asked the drover.
" She do talk most parts of the iiights, an'
lately she's bin sayin' such odd thiDgs," con-
" What's she bin sayin' ? " urged the drover.
" I uever can tell," replied Twm.
" Have another drink," said the drover.
"Man alive, I've had two," said Twm.
" Three won't hurt thee," continued the
By and by Twm was willing to double the
three quantities of beer, and then the drover's
object was attained. Other drovers came and
crowded the old oaken settles in the kitchen,
and all present wished to hear what Betty
Barebones had been saying.
" Come now, Twm ; tell us all about it,"
clamoured the men.
" Well," said Twm, " one night a bit ago I
did go home, an' I s'pose I was purty dirty
lookin', an' up an' says the old woman, ^ Thee'st
bin at the "King's Head" again.' An' if I was
never to move aoain, the inside of the ' Kino^'s
Head' hadn't seed me that night. So says I,
I did slip just in front of Nant-y-Garth, an' that
was cause of a rolUn stone. ' Well,' says I,
1 3 2 The Flight of the Merlyn
' you be the oddest woman for a mother as ever
was. When a man do come home full of bruises,
an' bruises is worse than broken bones — you '
" ' Hold thee tougue the old c-nock,' says my
mother, 'best thing for bruises is snail's-foot
oil. Thee look for some of that tomorrow an'
thee '11 soon mend.' An' with that she did go
to bed. An' I did sit up a spell. An if I was
never to move again, I didn't have one spot
of liquor in me. Well, that night 'bout two in
the mornin' I did hear the old ooman talkin' to
herself. An' I did listen. An' this is what she
was say in', ' There's nothin' like suail's-foot oil
for bruises. An' by an by there'll come a
bruise, that Twm O'Garth 'on't get over, n-ither.
An' when he's dead, dead as a nit, his body '11
be tied to a pony's back, and the merlyn '11 fly
away with his corpse. An there'll be a rumpus ! '
Then the old ooman did begin a-singin' to her-
self the same piece you did hear me repeat
The drovers laughed heartily, and persisted in
calling Betty Barebones moonstruck.
Althouoh Twm often acknowledg-ed to himself
that his mother was, as he called it, '' hipped," he
did not like anybody else to revile her. So he
keenly resented the drovers' insolence, and a
noisy brawl ensued.
It was late, or rather early in the morning,
Twm o' Garth
when Twm reached home. During his progress
through Nant-y-Garth, he had fallen several
times, and presented a woe-begone appearance
as he sat down in the arm-chair beside the
hearth, where a smouldering^ fire still remained.
He slept heavily for several hours, and when he
aw^oke, the sunlight was streaming in through the
little window^s of the cottage.
"Thee'lt save a sight o' money, only give thee
time, Twm," said Bett}^, as she prepared the
Twm remained silent.
"Art hard o' hearin ?" asked Betty.
" 'Tis well when a man o' sixty do begin
to think 'bout savin','' persisted Betty, adding,
"Thee'rt lookin' copper this mornin'."
Tw^m, who had indulged too freely the pre-
vious night, was by no means in a good humour,
and at length he said, '' Thee'rt anuff to make a
man mad ! How ken I save when thee dost take
every penny of my wages. Last night I did go
down without a penny in my pocket, an' the
others did say, ' Thee'rt tied to the mammy's
apron strings,' an' that's how I've bin all my life,
an' I s'pose that's how I shall be to the end of
my days ! "
" The end's nearer than thee dost think. Thee'lt
go to the ' King's Head ' once too often," said
134 The Flight of the Merlyn
Betty Barebones. "Take thee warnin' in time.
Next bout will be the last for thee."
Betty Barebones clenched her fist in ber son s
face, and almost hissed at him.
After breakfast Twm went to his work, but
all through that day, and far into the next night,
his mother's words kept ringing in his ears.
" Next bout with them drovers will be the last
for thee ! "
The words rang in his brain like a funeral
knell, and for days Twm moved about like one
in a dream.
For many months after that, Twm avoided the
'•King's Head" wdienever the cattle dealers and
drovers came to Llanwddyn. As chief herdsman
of the farm he was obliged to meet these men,
but he was careful not to go to the " King's
Head" with them.
Summer with its brilliant sunshine, its birds
and flowers, passed away, and a rainy autumn
flooded the lowlands, and filled the woodland
hollows with water.
Autumn was succeeded by a wet winter, and
the Welsh villagers said, ''A green winter makes
a full churchyard."
Just before Christmas a hard frost set in. It
lasted four days, and then rain came again. The
rain falling upon the frozen earth made the roads
and pathways very slippery, and locomotion
// TO as Christinas Eve 135
became both difficult and dangerous. For a
week or more men were continually falling,
sometimes with bad results and broken bones.
It was Christmas Eve.
The clouds hovered heavily over Llanwddyn.
Towards nio-ht a wild wind arose, howlinoj
drearily among the mountains, and wailing
around the bleak moorlands.
It whistled anion 2: the bare branches of the
gnarled oaks in Nant-y-Garth, and it sighed
wearily arouud the herdsman's lonely cottage.
Betty Barebones replenished the fire on the
hearth, and then busied herself in making oint-
ments, always much in demand during the
Now and again she paused to look out into
the storm, which was rising to almost a
Not a star was to be seen, and before seven
o'clock rain bes^an to fall.
About an hour later Betty was startled by
a loud knock at the door.
It was most unusual for anybody to come to
that lonely spot at night, especially in the
" Come in," shouted Betty.
In response, a big, rough-looking youth of
about seventeen entered, accompanied by his
136 The Flight of the Merlyn
It was Ivor the cowboy.
" I wouldn't 'a' come up lieer if it hadn't 'a'
been for the missis, an' if I did think it would
rain I wouldn't 'a' come up 't all."
Ivor the cowboy was strong, stalwart, and
tall. Hereditary tendencies, life spent in the
open air, and continual active exercise, made
Ivor more sprightly than the majority of youths
of his class. He w^as famed in the neighbour-
hood for his fearlessness, both as a rider and
" What's up now ? " asked Betty.
" The missis has got the rheumatics dus'prate
bad, an' she do want some o' your stuff for it.
She's been bad for more'n a w^eek now," said
Betty had often treated the farmer's wife for
rheumatism, and she quickly prepared the
'' Here's the stuff," said Betty. '* She must
rub it where she do feel the most pain. An' she
must keep on with it constant all through the
wiiiter. 'Tis no good to rub a drop in to-day,
an' then leave it off for a. week or so. She must
rub, rub, rub every day, whether she's got the
pain or not. There's nothin' wnss than the
'' Thank goodness, I don't know what they be,"
Ivor the Coivboy 1 3 7
" Thee'lt never know much 'bout 'em," said
Betty. ^' There's nine lives in tliee, like in me."
'' Ay, ay," said Ivor, " they do say there's
nine lives in every cat."
Betty, shaking her fist at Ivor, said, "Never
mind. Thee'lt do me t^YO good turns yet 'fore I
"Don't know so much 'bout that," said Ivor.
" Thee don't give anybody the chance to do good
for thee or thine.''
" Thee'lt have two chances for all that," said
Betty, indulging in a wild, unearthly scream,
startling Ivor, who mentally remarked how
dreadful it must be to live with such a hag.
" 'Tis a dark night anuff," said Betty, opening
the door and peering out into the little garden.
" Hast got a lantern ? "
" Iss," said Ivor ; ^^ who'd come up Nant-y-
Garth of a night like this without one % I put
it by the gate."
" Then 'tis blown out," said Betty, '' for I
don't see no sign of a light anywhere."
And so it proved.
When the lantern was re-lighted, Ivor, ac-
companied by his dog, set forth on his return
through Nant-y-Garth. The wind was not
quite so high, and the rain by this time had
Ivor strode on as quickly as it was possible.
The Flight of the Merlyn
because everybody was afiaid to venture that
way after dark.
Some said Nant-y-Garth was haunted, others
declared that unknown witches came there
to meet Betty Barebones at midnight, and
it was whispered that the witches' Sabbath
was kept inside and outside the herdsman's
With a shiver Ivor remembered all these
sayings, and his flesh began to creep with
unnatural coldness as he more firmly clutched
his ox-goad and whistled to his dog.
When about half-way down the ravine he
heard the owls hooting and the wind wailing
among the trees on the top of the clifl's.
Still another sound, and one that made Ivor's
heart to beat wildly.
It was a blood-curdlingr sound. It now re-
sembled the deep baying of distant hounds ;
then it sounded like a mighty groan.
Ivor hurried on. He began to think of the
Crwn Annwn, or spirit-hounds, and the groaning
of the Gwrach-y-rhybin — the hag of the mid-
Stricken with terror, Ivor thrAight he could
see ofoblins and hobo^oblins s^rinnino: wherever
his lantern light flashed.
Again he heard the strange sounds. As he
strode quickly forward he imagined he heard
Strange Sounds and Footsteps 139
footsteps following him ; but he had not the
courage to turn round and look back.
Perhaps it was some of the witches who
visited Betty ; perhaps it was Betty Barebones
herself, following him with some additional
recipes for his mistress. If so, she must come
to him, for he could not turn round to her.
Ivor quickened his pace, and, as the strange
sounds still continued, the cowboy began to run.
As he ran, it seemed to him that the sounds
grew louder, and the footsteps following him
became swifter too. Ivor ran without ceasing
until he reached the entrance to Nant-y-Garth,
where the sounds and footsteps suddenly ceased.
Then, utterly exhausted, he paused to rest on
From dark cloud-rifts the moon looked down
upon Llanwddyn, and Ivor was glad to sec in
the distance the welcome lights of the village,
and soon he reached home, vowing that never
again would he go through Nant-y-Garth at
When he related his experiences to his fellow-
servants, one of the elder men said, " 'Tis Christ-
mas Eve, an' I've heerd say that all sorts of noises
ken be heerd in Nant-y-Garth 'bout this time,
and again on the ' tier nos ysprydion ' (the three
" If I was never to move again, I do b'lieve
1 40 The Flight of the Merlyn
Betty Barebones is a witch," said another
" An' ouo^ht to be burnt for a witch," chimed
in one of the farm boys.
The next morning; Twm O'Garth did not
appear to fulfil his duties, though the master
had said he need not on Christmas Day come
so early as on ordinary days. But when ten
o'clock came, and the chief herdsman did not
appear, the farmer ordered Ivor to go to Twm's
The cowboy said he was afraid to go alone.
" Afraid, and by daylight ? " exclaimed the
*' You'd be 'fraid too," said Ivor, " if you'd bin
through Nant-y-Grarth last night."
Ivor asked Wat the ploughboy to go with
him, and they set out at once.
When half-way through Nant-y-Gartb, Ivor
told his companion where he first heard the
" 'Twas uncommon odd," said Wat.
" You'd have said so if you'd been there," said
They walked silently on for some time, and
then AVat exclaimed, " Look there — d'ye see
that ? "
" What ?" asked Ivor, looking in the direction
indicated by Wat.
But what is itf 141
" Can't you see, boy," replied Wat, peering at
the stones on the pathway.
" One might think you'd caught sight of a
snake," said Ivor, stepping forward. '^ But what
is it ? "
*' Why, 'tis nothin' more nor less than blood ! "
The boys went on. The blood-marks increased
in number and size, and when the boys were
three parts through Nant-y-Garth, they saw a
good-sized j)ool of blood.
" Murder ! " exclaimed Wat.
" It looks like it," said Ivor.
About a hundred yards from the herdsman's
cottage, the boys saw Betty, who appeared to be
dragging a burden towards the house.
Seeing the boys, she cried out, " Come, come ;
be quick, he be just dead."
The boys soon reached her, and immediately
drew back in horror, for the burden that Betty
Barebones dragged homewards was the lifeless
body ofTwm O'Garth.
Twm's blood-bespattered face was pallid with
death, and from a fearful gash in the back of his
head a gory stream issued.
Betty Barebones gave a strange unearthly
shriek, then said, '' Twm didn't come home last
night, an' I did look an' listen an' wait, but no
sign of him did I see. Surely, says I, he's
142 The Flight of the Merlyn
stayed down in the master's, 'cause 'tis Christmas
Eve, an' he'll be up by breakfast. But when
the clock did strike nine, an' I did see no sign
of him, I did start to come down to the village.
An' when I did get half-wny down Nant-y-Garth,
who should I see but Twm lyin' in a heap by
the eldei' bushes. ' Twm,' says I, all in a fright,
' how did'st thee come heer \ ' But he did give
no answer. So I did look, and then 1 did see his
head was bleed in'. By an' by he did open his
eyes, and then he did groan. An' all he did say,
' home to die.' But he did die there and
then, an' I did try to lift his body, but couldn't.
'Twas too heavy. Then I did try to drag it up,
an' did faint twice on the road. I did thank my
stars when I did see you comin'."
The boys then bore the body onward. Betty
following, kept muttering to herself all the
time, " I did warn him of it. I did say the
next bout will be the last for thee, but he did
take no heed."
Having laid the body on a bed, Ivor and Wat
prepared to return home.
"Thee'st done one good turn forme — didn't
I say thee would'st ? " said Betty to Ivor.
" Thee'lt do another in a bit. Thee didst help
to carry poor Twm home to his mother, sure
Then Betty began to cry, but her tears soon
The Herdsman s Cottage 143
vauisbed, and leaping about a foot from the
ground, she shrieked so suddenly and sharply
that the boys were startled.
Ivor and Wat returned home, and Betty Bare-
bones was left alone with the dead.
As soon as the news spread through the vil-
lage, nearly everybody accused Betty of having
murdered her son.
But even Betty Barebones found friends in
need, in the persons of her son's master, and,
strangely enough, the landlord of the *' King's
Head," who declared that, although Twm was
very drunk, he persisted in going home. A
neighbour led liim so far as Nant-y-Garth, but
feared to go beyond, and the neighbour said
Twm was sufficiently sobered by that time to
go home alone. The doctor said Twm had
stumbled, and, very likely falling on the back
of his head, received his mortal wound.
He must have been soon insensible, and the
groans that Ivor heard wxre evidently the dying
agonies of Twm O'Garth. Three days after
Christmas the funeral was to take place.
Many people wended their way up through
Nant-y-Garth who had never been there before,
and all agreed it was a lonesome place to
The herdsman's cottage was in a very awkward
situation. Vehicles could never approach it, and
144 ^^^^ Flight of the Merlyn
the only means of access to it from the village,
was by a narrow, steep, and very rough road
leading to the labyrinth of sheep-walks, or via
When Twm's father died there, the bearers
failed to traverse the sheep-walks, and they
knew it woukl be impossible to descend through
Nant-y-Garth. So they had recourse to a custom
prevalent in some parts of Wales to this day.
The coffin was securely strapped upon the back
of a merlyn or mountain pony, and the animal
was led slowly from the heights to the village
Betty decided that Twm's body was to be
borne in the same way.
Twm was much respected in the neighbour-
hood, and the number of people attending the
funeral was unexpectedly large. The herdsman's
cousins and friends, who, under ordinary circum-
stances, would have been bearers, strapped the
coffin to the merlyn s back, and then the animal
was cautiously led along the sinuous sheep-walks.
The long procession had moved onward about
half a mile, when a sudden and sharp turn in the
sheep-walks caused the people to halt. The first
half of the cortege was lost to sight by huge
crags and boulders on the mountain side, when
those behind heard a shout or cry of alarm from
those in advance.
A Stj^ange and Gruesome Scene 145
" What is it ? " whispered everybody as the
procession was obliged — owing to the narrowness
of the way — to go in Indian rank and file.
The turn in the path revealed all.
Fleeting down the mountain side went the
merlyn with the cofiin on its back. The animal,
stumbling beside the boulders, became frightened
and escaped its leader.
It was a strange and gruesome scene.
The mourners crowded together speechlessly,
and looked over the mountain - side to the
lower sheep-walks whither the fleet-footed and
frightened merlyn speeded.
On, on, with the rapidity of lightning the
animal went, until it was lost in the dense
windings of the woods at the base of the
The mourners could not give chase, because
the descent was dangerous. They walked c[uickly
on, and only hoped that the pony would be
caugrht in the villag;e.
Still, onward speeded the merlyu. Now it
galloped, then it stood still, only to start away
more wildly than before !
On it went, its burden still securely strapped
to its back. It fled so madly through Llanwd-
dyn that it could not be caught, and then it
sped along the road leading to Bala.
Pedestrians paused and gazed in wonderment
146 The Flight of the Merlyn
to see a merlyn with a coffin strapped on its
back, running as if for a wager or a race.
The day passed, but no news came of the
merlyn. It was a terrible and gruesome flight.
Through daylight and into tlie darkness the
pony speeded onward, up bill and down dale,
while some peoj^le regarded it as a weird and
dreadfully uncanny spectacle, and others looked
upon it as an apparition, rather than a living
object bearing the burden of death.
All agreed that Betty Barebones had "be-
witched " the merlyu.
Two days later, news about that awful flight
were brought by a minister from below Bala.
He said that a merlyn answering to the descrip-
tion given of the Llanwddyn pony, with loosened
straps, was found dead just where the Treweryn
joins the Dee, and still lower down a coffin
was seen floating on the waters, and people
in one of the villages in pity buried the
And that was the last heard of Twm O'Garth.
Betty Barebones never recovered from the
shock of her ill-fated son's funeral.
The people in Llanw^ddyn tried to persuade
her to go and live in the village, but she would
not, and afterwards, twice a week, the farmer
and his wife sent provisions up to their faithful
herdsman's mother. Sometimes Wat went up,
The Welsh Alountains 147
and sometimes Ivor would go, but never again
in the night.
In the February after Twm's death the weather
became severely cold. The wind groaned and
howled among the mountains, and every day the
frost became more intense. Rivers were ice-
bound. Llyn Tegid, as Bala lake is called, was
completely frozen over ; streamlets were petrified,
and from the summit to the base in Nant-y-
Garth silver-green icicles were suspended, and
fantastic icework transformed the gnarled oaks
into traceries and designs of Gothic grandeur.
It was bitterly, bitingly cold. Even the howl-
ing wind seemed to be frozen.
After a dark and windy week, with a
leaden sky, snow began to fall, and continued
to do so without intermission for four days and
The snow assumed every shape of white mag-
The Welsh mountains everywhere appeared
like orrand monarchs risino^ one above the other,
surrounded by pale warriors and lordly citadels.
The sternness of the storm-beaten cliffs and
crags was beautifully softened, and each tower-
ing mountain peak was clothed with graceful
draperies of white.
Humble alder and black-thorn, stately oak
and elm, graceful chestnut and lordly fir were
1 48 The Flight of the Merlyn
veiled with fairy-like woof and warp of snow,
and with fringes of flashing icicles.
Almost all work and traffic were totally sus-
pended. Mankind congregated around the blaz-
ing hearths ; womankind longed for the frost to
break up, and take the men out of their way.
On the fifth day, when the blinding snow
ceased falling, the thoughts of the people re-
verted to Betty Bareboiies.
" What about Betty ? " asked Ivor's master.
" We did take her a basketful of things up on
Monday," said Ivor.
'^ And 'tis Friday to-day," said the farmer.
" I sent enough food to last about a week,"
said his wife.
*' She must have a fresh supply to-morrow,"
said the farmer. " But who can get at her in
this weather? Much better if the wilful old
woman had come down long ago as we wanted
her to. I don't know what is to be done."
" I'll go up," said Ivor.
"I don't see how it can be done," said his
master. " Nant-y-Garth is choked with snow,
and it would be sheer madness to try the moun-
Few men who hold human life as their dearest
possession would have attempted to effect an
entrance to Nant-y-Garth, much less to scale the
mountain sides, in such weather.
A Perilous Errand 149
Yet, knowing the dangers well, Ivor, on the
morrow, started patiently to make his way through
the desolate ravine, and that too at a time when
perhaps the storm would recommence with re-
Before proceeding, the courageous cowboy
took a hearty meal — eating it as a soldier arm-
ing himself for warfare. As the last crumb dis-
appeared he said, " Now, lads, the next meal will
be with Betty Barebones if I shall ever reach her
Was her old life worth the risk of a young
life ? asked the farm-folk.
Ivor knew it was a perilous errand, but he
started with a light and brave heart, though the
chances of wind and weather were against bim.
Seizing a long pole, he called out gaily to his
"Joy go with me, and a pottle of moss,
If I never come back 'twill be no loss ! "
He knew that one of the worst parts of his
journey would be to reach the entrance of Nant-
y- Garth from the main road. The route lay
along very rugged uplands filled with deep hol-
lows, around which he was obliged to feel his
way, now using the long pole, and then creeping
on his hands and knees in the most slippery
1 50 The Flight of the Merlyn
Before reaching Nant-y- Garth, the snow began
to beat pitilessly in his face, and strong gusts of
wind frequently forced his steps backward.
Ivor consoled himself by remarking that once
in Nant-y-Garth, he would at least be sheltered
from the relentless wind and the blinding snow.
Half a mile from the ravine he found himself
up to the shoulders in snow. By means of his
long pole he extricated himself, and with con-
siderable difficulty reached the entrance of the
ravine, there to be obstructed by a huge sloping
barrier of snow. The surface was frozen as
hard as it could be, but the cowboy feared
to trust the treacherous crust, which might at
any moment give way and prove to be a snowy
For a moment Ivor stood in a sheltered corner,
and closed his aching, snow-blinded eyes.
How to get over that snowy barrier, was a
problem difficult to solve.
Suddenly he remembered that the ancient
oaks at the entrance of the ravine were as
strong as iron. If only he could get hold of the
branches he would be able to ascend.
By means of his long pole he took a long-
leap forward, and was able to clutch one of the
Now courage and confidence were returning.
He was not cold any longer.
A Grand Sight 1 5 i
Swino^ing himself from one frozen branch to
another, be soon reached a ledge in the rocks
overhanging the snow barrier. Once there, he
phxnted his pole in the top of the ridge, when
suddenly, and with great noise, an avalanche de-
scended from the upper rocks, and went thunder-
ino' down into the mouth of the ravine.
Ivor was then able to descend from the cliff
side into the ravine.
There, in some places the snow was deeply
drifted, while in other parts the rocks appeared
as slippery as glass.
Now Ivor was climbing; around huo;e boulders
— now he strode along spaces blown bare of snow
— and now he sank into drifts that every moment
threatened to bury him. Now he would pause to
rest and look back down throug^h the ravine.
What a grand sight !
With that solemn and almost melancholy
religious feeling which Welshmen possess in
common with the Hebrews, Ivor thought of the
judgment, the great white throne, the arch-
angels and angels clad in snow^-white raiment.
And, as he passed onward, the snow-enshrouded
oaks reminded him of hoary Druids clothed in
the spotless raiment that distinguished them on
the borders of the battlefield from the ancient
A fearfid feeling of desolation came over him.
1 5 2 TJie Flight of the Merlyn
In temporary despair he sank down suddenly on
the slippery rocks, as if he would gladly embrace
death to escape the loneliness and hunger and
thirst for life.
Then, again, he seemed to hear voices calling
him higher up the ravine — kindly voices of
angels and Druids, miugled with the urging
tones of ancient warriors.
It was then — his own strength flagging- — that
Ivor looked higher for the first time, calling on
his Master for help.
He staggered on his journey, and soon ap-
proached the top of the ravine. Only another
turn of the grim cliff's and crags, and the herds-
man's cottage would be in sight. Onward he
went, clasping a slippery boulder to avoid falling
into a miniature avalanche.
But what was this in the snow ? His pole
struck something hard, and stooping down he
found it to be an old crook, and beside it a three-
legged stool. He wondered vaguely what they
meant. Then he found a saw, a shovel, a pan,
and a large old-fashioned flannel apron blown
across the frozen branches of low-ofrowinof hazels.
Breathing in heavy gasps, not daring to guess
what was before him, Ivor pressed on towards
the cottage. But, alas ! it was not there !
An avalanche descending from the upper
ranges of the mountains had swept over the
Digging the Snow Away 153
cottage, and left it a ruio. Only one wall of the
house built against the cliffs alone remained, and
part of the broken roof lay before it.
Ivor called out loudly, but was only answered
by echoes. He made his way to the site of the
cottage, calling and shouting at every step.
Straining his ears to catch some answer to his
cries, he heard a faint sound cominof from the
snow-buried garden. He listened.
" Here," a feeble voice said.
He called again, " Betty ! Betty ! "
" I be here/' answered the voice, as that of
some one expecting help.
Ivor hurried on in the direction of the sound.
In a moment he was on the spot, digging the
snow away with his hands.
" Who was it ? " came the cry.
" Ivor — the cowboy," was the answer.
" Oh, Ivor, boy ! I did feel sure God wouldn't
leave me to die here all alone. I've been prayin'
all along to Him," and poor old Betty Barebones'
pinched face had a smile for the cowboy. " How
good God is ! "
Tears rolled down from the cowboy's semi-
blinded eyes to his frost-blistered cheeks. He
could not speak. Loosening the old woman
from the snow and wreck of the cottage, he
clasped her in his arms. The movement gave
her acute pain. One of her arms was broken.
154 ^^^^ Flight of the Merlyn
and her body was crushed and lacerated. He
hastened with his burden to the wall that still
stood against the cliffs, and laid Betty under its
shelter. Then he took oflp his greatcoat nnd
covered her with it. As he did so, her eyelids
'' I did tell you you'd do me another good
turn," said Betty, while the tears rolled down
her wan and wasted face. "Ivor, I did think
'twas the Judgment-day, an' that the world was
come to an end, an' I was up here — left alone to
face my Maker."
*' Can you tell me all 'bout it ? " nsked Ivor,
kneeling beside Betty.
A long pause followed, her eyes closed, and
occasionally she compressed her lips, as if to
By and by she said, "It did come when I was
makin' a bit o' breakfast this mornin'. Just as
I was tuiiiin' from the fire to the table I did
hear a dreadful noise like thunder. Every thin'
seemed to be breakin', as if the mountains was
comin' on top o' me, an' then, in the twinklin' of
an eye, the roof did fall, an' I was stunned. I
did know no more till I did find myself in the
snow jest as thee did'st find me. God did send
thee here, Ivor ! "
She lifted her withered hand and passed it
over the lad's brown and blistered face.
^' The End is Comt7i " 155
''Listen, Ivor," the old woman whispered.
"When the snow is gone, tliee can'st look for
the old chest what used to be by the chimney,
thee'lt find there 'bout three hundard pounds.
That'll pay thee for thy trouble. 'Tw\as very
well to look on it once — 'tis no good to me
now ! "
Ivor buried his face in his hands, and his
whole frame shook with sobs. Never before had
Ivor seemed so helpless.
Suddenly he remembered that in the wallet he
carried on his shoulder his mistress had put a
phial containing a comforting cordial, which she
told him to use ''to keep out the cold." He
gave some of it to Betty, ' and took a little
The cordial appeared to revive the old woman,
who firmly held one of his hands, while Ivor for
the first time realised the situation.
To move Betty was a sheer impossibility, and
to go for help was to leave her to meet certain
Betty looked up. She seemed to guess what
was passing through his mind.
"Ivor, boy," said she. "Don't thee mind.
I did heer the call — I got nothin' to fear now —
it won't be long — the end is a-comin'."
Her eyes closed again, and tears slowly
found their way down the deeply furrowed
156 The Flight of the Merlyn
cheeks — not tears of rebellion, but bitter drops
of sorrow for a life wasted in miserable and
unnecessary loneliness. Had she mingled with
her fellow-mortals, and come down to the world,
she would have died in her bed. She now felt
that her life had been as far removed from
human kind as if she had lived in a tropical
desert, or among the ice fields of the polar
"Ivor," said Betty slowly, "if thee canst
lift me a bit, I do think the pain would come
The cowboy lifted her, and rested her poor old
head on bis shoulder.
'' Ivor, my boy — tell 'em all down there I did
mean well to 'em. Only I was always odd like,
and did keep from 'em. But — " she faltered, " I
was never a witch, nor hadn't no dealin's, as they
did say, with the old Satan. No, no ! An' when
the snow do go — you come an' take the old chest,
an' the money's yours."
Ivor remained silent. He did not want, did
not hope for reward.
"Promise me, Ivor," added Betty. " 'Tis a
dyin' wish, an' we in the old country do always
respect the dead. Promise me."
" I promise," said Ivor solemnly.
Betty's eyes looked radiantly up at him.
"They're a-comin'," she said, "they're a-comin'
A S^ioivy Grave 157
— tlie angels an' the holy ones, an' — peace — ever-
lastin' — peace ! "
And with a sigh, and a tear of joy, Betty
Ivor laid her body to rest where her poor
wasted frame would be protected until it could
have decent funeral.
Never was mortal placed in a fairer grave
than that which Ivor made among the desolate
mountains of Wales for Betty Barebones.
It was down near the cottage wall in the
shelter of projecting cliflfs, and crags, and, as he
laid the poor old body to rest in its snowy grave,
for shroud he placed her AVelsh flannel apron upon
her breast, there to remain until the mountain
fastnesses and sheep-walks were released from
Looking down for the last time upon the wan
and upturned features, the desolation of the place,
its solemn grandeur, and the painful loneliness of
the death scene seemed suddenly to pass away,
and the words from the Revelation came back to
Ivor's memory: " God shall ivipe away all tears
from their eyes : and there shall he no more
death, neither sorroiv, nor crying, neither shall
there he any more pain ! "
When Ivor returned to Llanwddyn, the
1 5 8 The Flight of the Merly
shadows of the early twilight were falling across
the frozen snow^, and the welcome lights of the
farm were as friendly beacons to tlie shipwrecked
mariner. The cowboy told his story in solemn
silence, while tears rained in showers from the
eyes of all who listened.
Snow fell almost continually for fourteen days
after Betty's death, and it was April before any
attempt could be made to reach the ruined cottage
among the mountains. Even then, the snow
remained in many places, and still covered Betty
May, with its sunshine and songs of birds,
came, and then the men ascended the mountains,
at the foot of which a large funeral procession
w^aited for the coming of the body of Betty
Barebones, who w^as buried with her husband in
the little village churchyard.
Five hundred pounds were found where Betty
said three hundred were stored, and Ivor, who
was advised by his master, kept the sum he
promised to take, and gave the remainder to the
old w^oman's next of kin. Ivor the cowboy set
himself up in a small farm near Llanwddyn,
and years afterwards his eldest son became
an earnest and hard-workiuo; minister of the
" Corph," as the Calvinistic Methodists are called
According to poor old Betty Barebones' pro-
pbecy, the ancient Llanwddyn was demolished,
and the phice where it once stood is submerged
beneath the Vyrnvvy Waterworks — that huge
artificial lake from which Liverpool receives its
ICbe fiDan of tbe fIDoat Ibouse,
E lived alone, and gloried in it. His
home was called the " Moat House/'
and that name it bears to this day,
though nobody knows why, because there does
not appear to be a vestige of a moat near the
In his Moat House he reigned supreme as
an absolute monarch, and when they told him
that Oliver Cromwell, having already made
turmoil in England, was about to proceed to
Wales, Michael Giles exclaimed, " More's the
shame for him — a Welshman — to try and beat
Welshmen ! But never fear. The Royalists and
the Roundheads will pass by little Lisworney."
So he leaned back in his chair, and enjoyed him-
self like a king. He ate and drank alone, worked
and rested alone, and declared that he never
suffered from bodily ache or mental pain, simply
because his life was unruffled by a companion.
Living Alone i6i
When the old women came around offerinor
their herb infusions, he would laugh heartily at
them, and say, " If you want to live well and
long — live alone. 'Tis livin' with other people
an' bein' bothered with 'em that brino^s on the
indigestion an' the black bile an' the rheums.
Here am I, as happy as the lark, and as rich as
I wish to be, an' all because — I live alone ! "
People who were allow^ed to go so far as the
threshold of the Moat House said it was spot-
lessly clean, just as if '' a woman kept it."
When this remark reached the ears of Michael
Giles, he said, " Some men be tidier than women.
As a rule, women is much like peas in a pod :
there's no tellin which is the best till you come
to shell 'em, and then like enough you'll find
the bigger the pod the fewer the peas. So you
mustn't judge a woman by the outside nor the
threshold of her house. Sometimes the finer
the windows the bigger the cobwebs."
Michael farmed for himself. He had never
been known to have hired help in his lifetime.
His dairy-work, house-work, and farm-work
were performed single-handed. He drove his
own flocks to market, and there sold them, and
as a purchaser he had the reputation of being
a hard-bargain driver. He had been known to
take his cattle thrice to Cardifi" market, and
brino' them back ag^ain, because of the diff'erence
i62 The Man of the Moat House
of sixpence ; for ^Yhicll the country people would
call after him, " Thee'lt need to shoe thy cattle,
to go long distances for the splitting of a hair."
Michael Giles only laughed, and would answer,
" Perhaps in the long run it would pay to have
them shod. Worse things than that have been
His house, or as much of it as should be seen,
was clean ; his garden was well kept, and his
farm was always in an orderly condition ; but he
had many peculiarities, as might be expected.
One of his whims was to strew the floors with
leaves, whereat the good people of Lisworney
Michael, seeing no laughing matter in tliat,
said, " What could be more beautiful than fresh
leaves and woodland flowers in spring-time and
summer : brown bramble leaves and ferns in
autumn, and fragrant pine spikes in winter ?
Are they not nature's carpets, and better than
those supplied by the hand of man ?"
" Now, Michael," said the lord of the manor,
'' what would you tell King Charles if he came
The lord of the manor was a staunch Royalist.
"Tell the king?" said Michael. "I'd tell
him that if he'd learnt the way to reign
alone, he'd have had no trouble. 'Tis company
that brings trouble. An if the king was to
Michael Giles 163
come here, I 'd not let bim put foot over my
threshold unless he begged permission."
" What would you tell Cromwell ? " asked the
'' The very same thing. Only I would add
to Cromwell, that more's the shame for him,
a Welshman, to try an' beat an buffet his
The lord of the manor rode away.
"Men that live alone are generally morose,
but " remarked the parson of Lisworney.
" Do I look morose ? " interrupted the man of
the Moat House.
"Nay, nay, as I was going to remark, I "
said the parson.
" Do I talk like a morose man ? " asked
"Nay, nay, friend," readied the parson.
''I'm no friend of thine," said Michael, "for
thou'rt both morose in looks an' in talk."
The parson smiled and walked on.
" There's nothin' like livin' alone," said Michael
to a neighbour. " If one has a quarrel with
oneself, it can't become the talk of the village.
When I count up my money, there's nobody to
look on through keyholes and cracks, an' when
I sit down to have my food, there's nobody to
say it isn't done to satisfaction. When I laugh,
I enjoy it alone. AVhen I sing, I'm all alone,
164 The Man of the Moat House
an' there's nobody to say I am out of tune. An'
when I do — which is seldom — run down any-
body, I do it alone, an there's nobody to
His panacea for all the ills of life was to — live
As time passed political matters were getting
more complicated, and it was necessary for the
Royalists to form an organisation in order to
support the king and resist the enemy.
The lord of the manor called upon Michael
Giles to ask his assistance.
"I'll give thee no aid," said Michael. "But
come in and sit down, an' we'll talk the matter
The lord of the manor entered.
"I've never asked thy aid, or the king's yet,"
said Michael, " an' what's more, I never intend
to while I've breath in my body. I've lived
alone all my lifetime, an' mean to as long as I
Then he laughed heartily.
" I don't understand how you can be so happy,"
said the lord of the manor.
" Why, sir, that's easily understood," said
Michael " I've nobody to ruffle my temper,
nobody to oppose my wishes, nobody to frus-
trate my designs, nobody to thwart my inten-
tions, an' nobody to say ' No ' to me ! "
The Lo7'd of the Manor 165
The lord of the manor went away, wishing he
too lived alone !
" I fear me there are dangers ahead," said a
neighbour, a little later on, when news came
that Cromwell was in Cardiff.
" P'rhaps so, but they'll never come to little
Lisworney," said Michael.
" But s'pose the troops did come here," said
the neighbour. " They'd ransack the place an
p'rhaps turn us out of house an home."
" Wait till they do come," was Michael's
reply. " Living alone hath made me hopeful.
I've nothing to fear, nobody to trouble me, an'
little to lose."
But the day came, when the lord of the manor
and other gentlemen had to seek the aid of every
man in the neighbourhood, and they claimed,
almost pressed, Michael's assistance.
The man of the Moat House flatly refused, and
the others had to ^o without him.
During the absence of all the men in the
neighbourhood but the parson and himself,
Michael became the protector of Lisworney. In
that capacity he acted like a veteran Field
Marshal, and, with keen eye, closely watched all
who came in or passed through the village.
One day a small party of Eoyalist soldiers
trooped in, and during Michael's temporary
absence in the fields, entered the Moat House.
1 66 The Man of the Moat House
Seeing from a distance tbeir movements,
Michael promptly returned, and ordered them
out of his house. This they refused to do, and
declared their intention of remaining there as
long as they thought fit.
" I'll make ye clear out," said Michael.
The men laughed, and, leaning back in their
chairs, ate and drank the best of everything in
" How wilt thee do it ? " asked one.
" Thee'lt see how, time enough," answered
^' By means of a watch-dog ? "
" Nay," answered the man of the Moat House.
" By means of firearms ? " queried another.
''Nay," said Michael. ''What good would
one firearm be as^ainst six ? "
" By burning clown the house ? " asked another.
" Nay ; I would not ruin my property for
such little sakes as thine," said Michael, with a
touch of scorn. " And would ye all willingly sit
down to be burnt alive ! No, no. Ill use more
effectual means to clear ye out of my house, an'
save your skins too."
The men laughed at his threat, and in fun
waited to see what means he had at hand for
In the room in which the soldiers reo^aled
themselves there were three doors, one of which
A Siege of Bees ! 167
led upstairs, aud the other opened into the dairy.
The third was the parlour door. Without attract-
ing attention, Michael Giles went out through
one door, and made a slight noise upstairs, then
descending as quietly as possible he went into
the back yard, took a hive of bees, and crept
behind the settle. Then quickly turning the
hive over, he gave the bees their freedom. Like
a dense cloud they swarmed the room, and be-
seiged the intruders. With great difficulty, and
not without severe stings either, the soldiers
rushed out of the kitchen into the open air, only
to be followed by the persistent bees. In pain
and misery, with swollen faces, eyes, and hands,
the men mounted their horses and hastened
away anywhere from Lis worn ey.
Not without a parting shot from Michael Giles,
who at the top of his voice shouted, " I found
effectual means of getting rid of ye all. There's
nothino^ better than a sieofe of bees ! "
The event became the talk of the country-
side, and the people declared in jokeful fashion,
''There's nothino^ like bees for drivinsf enemies
A few weeks before the great battle of St.
Fagan's, the lord of the manor came begging
Michael Giles to accompany them to Cowbridge,
where all the Royalists were to assemble, in
order to proceed to the scene of conflict.
1 68 The Man of the Moat House
''It's your duty to come," said the lord of
'' I call it my duty to remain at home," said
Michael determinedly. " I've always lived alone,
never had a companion, and why should I go
out amongst others ? No, I'll stay at home, and
mind the Moat House and Lisworney."
He remained true to bis post, and waited
anxiously for news of the great and terrible
battle fought at St. Fagan's, after which the
Parliamentary forces did much damage in and
around the neighbourhood of Cowbridge.
One evening in May, soon after the Battle
of St. Fagan's, a party of Parliamentary soldiers
rode into Lisworney.
Michael Giles, like a Field Marshal, imme-
diately spied them.
Seeing the stalwart Welshman, the leader of
the party rode up to him.
" We would fain rest awhile," said Captain
Garland, "and have what private provision we
can. Will you direct us ? "
This was spoken in a tone of such refined
courtesy, that Michael Giles, even though a
Koyalist himself, was much touched. Honour
be to the magnanimity of the Welsh Royalist,
he immediately conducted them to his own Moat
House, and regaled the cajDtain and his men with
the best provisions he had in his possessioD.
Captain Garland 169
Then Michael Giles discovered that the leader
of the band was no other than the well-known
Captain Garland, who was mentioned in Colonel
Horton's despatches to the War Department.
Captain Garland and his men halted at Lis-
worney for the night, and early the next morning
took their departure for Bridgeud. Before going,
the captain ordered his men to give three ring-
ing cheers for "Master Michael Giles, of the
Moat House, Lisworney, and may he live long
and prosper ! " And the men cheered to an
" He'll prosper as long as he lives alone ! "
shouted Michael, whereupon all the soldiers
" I crave a boon before you go," said Michael,
resting his hand on Captain Garland's horse.
" Anything you may wish to name," said the
captain, '' and it is in my power to give."
" I crave thy gauntlets," said Michael.
'•' And you shall have them," replied the cap-
tain, forthwith handing them to MicLael, who
promptly returned thanks for the boon.
Tiie Koyalists then rode away, and long after
the civil war was over, Michael Giles would
tease and taunt his own party, by saying, " The
Roundheads paid for their place with a pair of
gauntlets; but, for their insolence, I paid the
Royalists with bees ! "
170 The Man of the Moat House
In the course of time Michael Giles was
gathered to his fathers, but, about forty years
ago a gauntlet, containing coin of various reigns,
was found in the thatched roof of the Moat
ZTbe Xab^ of tbe Xake
RYNAOH AP HOWEL, a prince of
Montgomery, was in a gloomy mood.
His lands were fair, Lis flocks were
large, his herds were vast, and his palace near
Welshpool was very beautiful.
Yet, he was a man with a grievance. His fair
domain must fall into the hands of an enemy,
unless Owain, bis son, married a rich woman.
Unfortunately all the pretty princesses of
Montgomery were very poor, while tlie only rich
women were Gwenllian of Craig-y-Mwyn, who
was already promised in marriage, and 01 wen of
Owain ap Brynach was one of the most hand-
some men in Montgomery — a kind-hearted
neighbour, and one of the best huntsmen in
Wales. He knew his father's grievance, and
put off the evil day as' long as he possibly could.
But there was no help for him. The beautiful
172 The Lady of the Lake
maidens of Montgomery were poor, and Olwen
of Carno possessed untold wealth. At last they
were married, and the estates were saved.
01 we II was old enough to be wain's grand-
mother, and her figure was bent and bowed with
extreme age. Her parchment-coloured skin was
wrinkled, crows' feet surrounded her eyes, and
her lij)S were thin and compressed.
Day after day Owain, as he sat down to the
banquet, grieved bitterly over his condition.
What was the good of all the wealth in the
world and no happiness ? Like a skeleton in a
cupboard was Olwen to him, and as time passed,
the worse matters grew. He disliked her at first,
he hated her in the end.
When in a maddened mood Owain, without
a word to Olwen, would angrily stride out of the
banqueting-hall, and go away hunting. It was
only in the chase he found any pleasure now.
Sometimes he wandered listlessly through the
pleasant woodlands, where he sought, but always
failed, to find solace for his heart-ache.
One day, when he was more than usually
gloomy in mind, he threw himself upon a mossy
bank in the woodlands, and there, half asleep
and half awake, he mused over his condition.
Overhead, the interlaced branches of the trees
waved gently but solemnly to and fro. Around
him, the white anemones quivered in soft summer
Ozvain ap Brynach 173
air, and away in the distance the blue-bells
looked like a sea of azure. Slowly through the
long and natural woodland avenue a lovely
maiden came. As she drew near, Owain observed
that her face was fair and extremely beautiful.
Long golden hair fell in profusion far below her
waist. Her hands were like the white anemones,
and her lips were red as the summer rose. She
came quite close to him, so that he could
almost touch her robes. Her eyes were like
violets orleaminor darklv under the lonor-frinfjed
At last she spoke.
" You are sad," she said, in bewitching accents.
" I am," he replied.
'' And why ? "
" Because I am tied for life to an ugly
partner," said Owain, as the maiden sat beside
" Why don't you get rid of her?" asked the
'' Because it is written, ' Thou shalt do no
murder,' " replied Owain, who thereupon poured
forth a torrent of laments to the lady who so
" I must go," said the maiden.
Owain besought her to stay, but she would not
" I'll come again to-morrow ! " she cried gaily
and then vanished.
174 T^he Lady of the Lake
Day after clay Owain and tlie beautiful
maiden met, until at length the prince deter-
mined to marry her.
But how was he to get rid of his ugly
Even the beautiful maiden could not suggest
any better or more effectual metliod than —
One day Owain strode angrily homeward,
and was in a sufficiently mad state of mind
to thrust his sword there and then through his
ugly wife's heart. Accor<lingly he went to her
room, but she was not there. He searched the
palace from battlement to basement, but she
could not be found.
Where the ugly 01 wen was gone nobody
knew, and nobody cared.
Forthwith Owain went for his new and
beautiful bride, whom he brought to the palace
amid much rejoicing.
Henceforth life was like a summer of delight.
There was only one mystery about the fair
lady. She agreed to become wain's wife only
on one condition. On the eve of every seventh
day from the date of marriage she was to go
away, and not be asked whither she went or
what she did. The lovely lady then added —
" If you agree to this your riches shall increase,
your wine shall never fail, and my beauty will
The BeatUif2il Bride i 7 5
never wane. But, if you once begin to doubt
me or oppose my wishes —
" Rushes and reeds, both rank and tall.
Shall flourish in Owain's stately hall,
And all that now may be therein
Shall sink in the waters of a llyn ! " (lake).
Owain agreed, and the long years passed joy-
ously. His bride still retained her wonderful
beauty. Her violet eyes were as bright and
clear as ever ; her complexion was as fair as when
Owain first saw her, and in her long golden tresses,
not a single thread of silver could be found.
With the flight of time Owain, growing old
and careworn and wrinkled, noticed with a touch
of jealousy, how marvellously his wife retained
her wonderful youth and beauty. He grew
querulous and fretful, and was troubled with
visions. His mind reverted to Olwen's mys-
terious disappearances, and he pondered deeply
about his beautiful bride's strange absences.
It was a dull and gloomy day in December.
Not a gleam of sunshine could be seen, and the
leaden sky promised snow. A bitter biting
wind whistled through the bare branches of the
stately trees in the park, and with every gust,
the last remaininor dead leaves whirled around
the palace porch.
In the early twilight, when the logs were
176 The Lady of the Lake
glowing brightly on the hearth, and the hounds,
resting at their master's feet, started in their
dreams, Owain's wife entered the great hall.
She was richly robed, and jewels sparkled on
her fingers, around her neck, and in her golden
hair. She looked more beautiful aud youthful
than ever. On her arm she carried an outer
and hooded garment of silk lined with costly
furs, and Owain knew what it meant to see her
attired thus. It was the eve of the mysterious
" It is very cold," remarked Owain.
" Yes," replied his wife with a slight shiver.
"I fear we shall have snow," said Owain.
" The sky is dark, and the wind is bitingly
" It is," meekly murmured the fair lady.
*' It is not fit for man or beast out this eve,
much less for a fair lady," continued Owain,
impatiently kicking one of the burning embers
on the hearth.
The violet eyes glowed with a strange un-
earthly light as the lady answered —
" You remember the promise ! Don't ask me
to break it unless 3^ou wish
" Rushes and reeds, both rank and tall.
To flourish in Owain's lordly hall.
And all that now may be therein
To sink in the waters of a llyn ! "
Wylan the Monk 177
Owain frowned, and looked gloomily into the
" It is getting late," said his wife. ^' I must go."
She had not long been gone, when snow began
to fall, and in an hour's time the park and the
fair lands around the palace were white and
Owain impatiently strode up and down the
hall. He was in an unusually gloomy mood,
and could hardly restrain himself from putting
a watch upon his wife. But he feared the conse-
quences, although he fretted sorely about his
wife's absences, and her perpetual beauty.
Absorbed in these thoughts, Owain did not
observe the presence of his dearest friend.
Into the lordly hall, Wylan the monk had
come silently, and with almost stealthy tread.
"Thou art sad, my son," remarked Wylan.
" That I am," replied Owain.
" And almost too pre-occupied to receive thy
friend with kindly greeting," remarked the
" AVylan ! " exclaimed Owain harshly and im-
patiently, " I am tired of all this."
" All what, my son ? " queried the monk.
"All these goings on," was the reply.
" Of whom ? " asked AVylan.
" Of my wife, of course," said Owain.
" It can't be helped ; and, moreover, she tells
178 The Lady of the Lake
you what the consequences would be if she failed
to keep her tryst," said Wylaii.
" I verily believe I am united to an evil
spirit," said Owain angrily.
" Perhaps so," calmly remarked the monk.
" She will never grow old, and that's myste-
rious," continued Owain.
" It is," responded Wylan.
" She has not lost a tooth, or obtained a single
grey hair, and she's sixty, if she's a-day by now,"
"Quite so," provokingly said Wylan.
" I am tired of her beauty," continued Owain.
"One wouldn't like the moon to be always
" Certainly not," said Wylan.
" What can I do \ " asked Owain.
The monk paused for answer.
Meantime it must be said that Wylan, the
monk and relisiious man, coveted his neis^hbour's
" I have an answer for thee," said Wylan, as
the two friends seated themselves besides the fire
on the hearth.
"And what is the answer ? " asked Owain
" Resign thy fair wife to me, with as much
wine, and sufiicient of thy flocks and herds, as
may be needed by the monks of yon monastery.
The Llanymynach Rocks 1 79
Without the flocks and herds, without the wine,
I will not take thy lady/'
"Agreed," exclaimed Owain.
Then the friends parted company.
That night Wylan the monk crossed the park,
but not towards the monastery. His pathway
was in another direction. He sought the Llany-
mynach Kocks, and the far-famed Cave of Ogof,
where the devil was supposed to hold terrible
orgies. The monk invoked the fiend, and pro-
mised to give him his own soul, if only Owain's
wife should become his. To this, the legend says,
the devil .was quite agreeable.
At some distance from the Cave of Ogof there
stood a cross, which is known in the present day
as " Croeswylan," or the Cross of Wylan.
The devil promised the monk that, if he went
to the cross on the eve of the next day, Owain's
wife should be his. But there was a conditiou.
Wylan must legally, and in proper order, marry
The eve of the seventh day came, and, as usual,
Owain's wife went to keep her tryst.
Wylan the monk went to keep his tryst at the
cross. According to the devil's promise, the
beautiful lady appeared. Jewels S[)arkled on her
white fingers, around her neck, and in her golden
hair, and she was enveloped in her flame-coloured
silken outer garment, lined with costly furs.
i8o The Lady of the Lake.
In order to make the marriage proper and
legal to the satisfaction of the devil, Wylan
had invited a neighbouring priest to perform the
At the conclusion of the marriage service, a
loud rumbling: noise was heard in the Cave of
Ogof; thunder pealed in the wintry heavens,
and forked lightnings darted from the gloomy
Wylan shuddered, and hurried his bride home-
ward. The lady gathered her hooded robe closely
around her, for the night was bitterly cold, and
they had to walk to the monastery.
Wylan, accompanied by his wife, entered the
great hall, where, when the lady threw off her
cloak, a mystery was revealed.
There, before all the brotherhood, stood Wylan's
bride, wain's lost wife 01 wen.
Horror of horrors ! Instead of the beautiful
woman who had graced wain's lordly banquet-
inof-hall, there stood the toothless and crooked-
back hag who had mysteriously disappeared from
Wylan was outwitted.
He had wain's aged wife, the flocks and herds,
the wine also, and, to make matters worse, he had
parted with his soul for — the hag Olwen.
In the thunderstorm the foundations of the
palace of Brynach ap Howel fell to the earth,
and Owain, with all his household, perished, and
soon afterwards —
" Rushes and reeds, both rank and tall,
Flourished in wain's lordly hall,
And everybody that was therein
Sank deep in the waters of a Uyn ! "
Where the palace stood a small pool or lake
may now be seen. It is called the Pool or Lake
At one time the people of the neighbourhood
firmly believed, that when the waters were dear
enough the tow^ers of the buried pakice could
Unfortunately the day has yet to come when
the darksome waters of Lake Llynclys shall be
Sweet X^bia ifell
A STORY OF THE WELSH QUAKERS
HEN it was announced by the deacon
that Joshua Morgan, '^ a man from
Abergele in the North," was to preach
in Bethel in the South, there was quite a stir in
" Who is he 'i " whispered one man to another.
" Don't know," was the rejoly.
" Have you ever heard him ? " asked one aged
woman of her neighbour.
" No, not I," was the answer.
" Is he young 1 " asked the girls, almost in a
breath, as they fluttered up to Rhys Eobert,
the " leader of the singing."
" Well," said Rhys, slowly and deliberately,
in his usual provoking way, " Well — I did hear
— him — sinf^ino; — when he was — let me see —
'bout eighteen — I should think — and "
" He's 'bout sixty-six now, I s'pose," inter-
rupted one of the girls.
Joshua Morgan 183
" Wait — till i do — tell you/' continued Ehys,
slower if possible than before. " You gells do —
want to — jump — down a man's — throat. Joshua
— Morgan — did sing — well, there then—like
" Angel," put in another girl.
" No," said Ehys ; " no such — thing. He
did sing "
"Hoof to the man," exclaimed an impatient
girl. "Out with it. You do drive us mad,
waitin' so long. If you don't tell soon, I'm
" Well," continued Rhys, " the long — and
short — of it — he did sing — like a l-a-e-k," said
Rhys, spelling the word.
" If he did sing like a lark at eighteen, how do
he sing now % " asked one of the elderly women.
" Like a crow, now, I s'pose," said one of the
girls, saucily tossing her head.
" I'll find out all 'bout him 'fore this time to-
morrow," said Gwladys, Rhys Robert's daughter.
" Not you," said Mary Jenkin of the Shop, as
the girls separated, some going homeward and
others going to join their sweethearts.
All the unmarried women of Quakers' Yard
were quite excited about the "man from the
Lydia Fell heard about the preacher, though
she did not attend Bethel, for Rachel David,
184 Szveet Lydia Fell
cousin to the pretty Quakeress, brought the
" Joslina Morgan of Abergele," remarked
Lydia Fell, musing awhile. "Thy mother,
Dinah Fell formerly, Dinali David now, and my
father, Zebedee Fell, were first cousins to Abi-
gail Fell, wdio married John Morgan of Abergele."
'' Have you ever seen Joshua Morgan ?" asked
" Not since I was quite a child," said Lydia.
'' What was he like then ? "
"A very fine and beautiful boy of about four-
teen, and I was nine."
"Oh!" said Eachel absently, while mentally
calculating the minister's age. " Then he is only
about thirty-six now ? "
" Yes," said Lydia. '^ That is all."
"Is he dark or fair?"
" Dark, with very black curly hair, and dark
glowing eyes. If Joshua Morgan has grown up,
as he promised, he must now be handsome —
very," said the Quakeress.
Lydia Fell was the only daughter of Zebedee
Fell, a member of the Society of Friends. Zebe-
dee's grandmother, Lydia Fell, was the owner of
the northern portion of the Llanfabon estate.
When a burial-place for the Friends was neces-
sary in the neighbourhood, Lydia Fell gave a
piece of land for the purpose in the year 1670, or
Quakers Yard 185
1680. The village now known as Quakers' Yard
takes its name from the ancient resting-place of
long departed Friends.
Zebedee Fell lived upon a small independency
inherited from his grandmother, but the former
wealth of the family dwindled to a mere nothing
with the flight of time. Zebedee and Lydia
were the last survivinsf of a long race bearino^
the name of Fell. All the others were married
out of the fraternity, and their names \vere lost
among Welsh families.
When Zebedee heard that Joshua Moro^an was
coming to Quakers' Yard, he said, "Thou must
see the young man, and if he will not sojourn
with us, maybe he will break bread here.
Dost thou hear what I say, Lydia ? "
" Yes, father," replied Lydia.
The aged man, dressed in the sad-coloured
clothes common to the fraternit}', rested on his
staff, which, from father to son, had descended
through long generations. For a time he mused
in silence, and sighed deeply.
Then he asked, " When is the young man
expected ? "
" On the sixth day."
''' Go and see thy Aunt Dinah about it, and
tell her what I say."
Lydia's Aunt Dinah was the wife of Deacon
David of Bethel.
1 86 Sweet Lydia Fell
It was arranoed between Dinah and her niece
Lydia that Joshua Morgan was to be the
Deacon's guest, but the bread-breaking was to
be left to the young minister's inclination.
In a few hours the girls in Quakers' Yard had
heard all about " the man from the North," and
eagerly looked forward to his coming.
At length the sixth day came, and the minister
He came in the April twilight, when the land
was dim and shadowy. Through the soft and
balmy evening air the young man saw the cherry
blossoms glimmering like stars, those of the pear
falling like snow-flakes in the orchards, and the
pink and white petals clustered upon the
branches of the apple trees that drooped down
almost to the verge of the silvery Taff.
Although here and there, a girl modestly con-
cealed herself behind the purple lilacs or under
the orchard trees, not one could boast of having
seen more than the shadowy outline of the
minister's fio;ure sit tin 2: beside Deacon David in
Dinah David came to the doer to welcome her
nephew, and Eachel peeping shyly on from the
end of the passage. Instead of the short and
thick-set man she expected to see, there appeared
a tall and stately minister.
Joshua Morgan of Abergele w^as a stalwart
Aiint Dinah David 187
and handsome man, standing six feet in his
stockings — and in those days much attention
was attracted by masculine legs and feminine
feet and ankles. Fine legs with ample calves,
gave a man a better footing in society, than his
neighbour who possessed thin and lean limbs.
For that reason men with poor legs frequently
adopted false calves. This practice caused some
people's legs to be regarded as impostors when
they were really hona fide. Feminine feet and
ankles fared better. There was no dis^ruise for
them. Big feet may be crushed into shoes a
size too small, but then the ankles w^ould bube
out and reveal the cramping. In those days
women wore clogs and pattens, and the pretty
foot looked prettier still in low shoes, to which
dainty pattens were strapped. And women then
were very proud of their highly-polished pattens,
which kept the feet so nicely out of the mire
To return to Joshua Moroan. His fine leofs
were encased in drab g^aiters when he arrived
and was conducted by Aunt Dinah to his room.
When he reappeared, the gaiters had been re-
moved, and as he entered the parlour Dinah
David mentally remarked, "What a handsome
man — what splendid feet and legs ! "
Joshua Morgan wore knee-breeches, fine white
stockings — such as gentlemen only wore in those
1 SS Sweet Lydia Fell
days — low shoes with plain silver buckles, and a
cutaway coat. His linen was frilled, and his
dark, thick, and naturally curly hair was tied at
the back with black ribbon.
" He's quite the gentleman," thought Deacon
David, as he greeted his nephew-in-law.
Joshua made himself thoroughly at home, and
when Dinah, introducing her daughter, said,
"This is thy cousin," the minister, taking the
outstretched hand, said tenderly and slowly,
" Kachel, Each el, for whom one waited through
weary years ! "
A thrill of pleasure speeded through Rachel's
Joshua's voice was so tenderly sweet, so
musically clear, and yet by no means effemi-
nate. It was strong and powerful, but governed
according to the necessities of time and circum-
After a substantial supper Deacon David
settled down in his old arm-chair, and, taking
out two pipes, offered the minister one.
" Thank you," said Joshua ; "I never smoke."
" What a nice man," mused Eachel.
" Thy father smoked," said Aunt Dinah.
" He would smoke against my mother's wishes.
Ever since his death my mother will not allow
pipes or smoking in the house."
" Ah ! " sighed Dinah, as one before whom the
Welcomed by the Fells 189
long gone years passed in review. " Time hath
not changed thy mother, my cousin Abigail."
"And never will," responded the minister.
" As thou dost not smoke," remarked the
Deacon, ''perhaps thou would'st like to go and
see thy uncle Zebedee Fell. Dinah, wilt thou
go with Joshua ? "
Aunt Dinah assented.
" What about society afiPairs ? " asked Joshua.
'' They'll keep till thee dost come back," said
Eachel accompanied her mother's cousin to
The candles had only just been lighted, when
'' the man from the North " entered and was
warmly welcomed by the Fells.
Cheerful firelight flickered on the hearth, and
in the ruddy glow sweet Lydia Fell looked very
beautiful. Her neat gown of drab material and
her snowy kerchief were highly becoming to her
style of beauty. Soft little wisps of light golden
brown hair persisted in straying from under the
cap, and the deep violet eyes, with their long
sweeping lashes, were now turned steadily and
candidly towards Joshua, Aunt Dinah, and
Rachel in turn.
More than once Rachel caught Joshua gazing
intently at Lydia, behind whom the dark wains-
cotted wall, and the oaken side table with its
IQO Sweet Lydia Fell
blue china Dutch vases, looked like the back-
ground of a beautiful picture.
" He admires Lydia — everybody admires her,"
murmured Kachel within herself " And yet,
she's ten years older than me."
It was o^ettino- late, and the visitors did not
remain long, but Zebedee and L3^dia promised
to spend a day at the Deacon's.
" Perhaps we shall have thy company on the
first day of the week ? " asked Zebedee.
Joshua looked at Aunt Dinah.
"Do as thee dost please," said the Deacon's
"Then I will come," said Joshua.
" And Uncle and Aunt, and Rachel too,"
To which proposition all agreed.
On the way home Aunt Dinah asked Joshua
how loDg he could stay amongst them.
" I have fourteen days to spare now," said
Joshua, " but you would be tired of having me
all that time."
"Tired!" exclaimed Aunt Dinah warmly;
" tired of dear Abigail's son ? No ; never ! "
Joshua silently pressed his aunt's small white
hand, in thankfulness for the warmth of her
Deacon David was delighted to hear that
Joshua could remain fourteen days, thus giving
In Bethel 191
the Bethelites the advantage of two sermon
Sundays instead of one.
On Sunday morning, as Joshua Morgan
ascended the high pulpit stairs, all the girls
present looked at him in amazement. First at
his handsome head and face, next at his fine
stature and "bettermost" style of dress, and
last, but not least, at his fine feet and shapely
But for some reason there were several un-
believers in those leos.
"He's got false calves," said Martha Jones of
Llanfabon when the meetino^ ended.
" No, no," said Mary Morris of Quakers' Yard ;
"he's a shapely man from head to foot."
" The man from the North" pleased the con-
gregation beyond expression, and w^hen Joshua
Moro^an arrived for the evening service, Bethel
was crowded to overflowing, and people were
willing to accept standing room.
The sermon was grand, impressive, and the
young minister's oratory was of the old Welsh
order — impassioned, and glowing with flowers of
At the end of the service the minister opened
the pulpit door and descended a step, but found
the stairway occupied by numbers of his fair
They immediately moved back to allow him
1 9 2 Sweet Lydia Fell
just sufficient space to descend, and, as he
moved downward, Martha Jones of Lhmfabon
quickly and slightly pricked in succession the
He never winced — never moved a muscle,
but went down as though Martha Jones had not
That decided the question.
Martha Jones of Llanfabon had proved to the
satisfaction of all the women in Quakers' Yard
that Joshua Morgan of Abergele wore false
" Never mind what he do wear," said one
loyal woman, "he do preach beau-ti-ful ! "
But next day Eachel David declared that her
cousin said he felt the " mischievous pricks,"
though he was equal to any fun, and resolved
"not to wince under them."
Joshua spent Monday with Zebedee and
Lydia, and the beauty of the Quaker maiden
impressed him more than when he first saw
Sweet Lydia Fell !
Her fair face pleasingly haunted the minister's
Her melodious voice charmed his waking hours.
In the afternoon of the third day of the week,
Joshua Morgan spent several hours with Zebedee,
but all the time wondered at Lydia's absence.
In the Orchard 193
He waited patiently for her coming, but she
did not appear.
At last, looking out through the parlour
window, he saw Lydia returning from the fields
and entering the orchard.
Joshua Moigan passed down the garden path-
way leading to the blossoming orchard, and, for
a moment, paused beside the lilacs to look at his
'' Sweet Lydia Fell ! " he sighed. '' Thy pre-
sence makes this earth an Eden."
Slowdy and thoughtfully, Lydia Fell wandered
through the orchard.
April sunshine, w^oven with shadows of leaf
and blossom, fell upon her snow-white cap,
and intensified the glory of her golden brown
Suddenly she turned back, and seeing the
minister, came swiftly across to greet him.
"• I did not know that thou wert here," she
" I know it," said Joshua. '' My uncle said
you had gone to the fields."
" Yes ; but had I knowai that thou wert here,
I would not have remained so long away," she
said, in sweet and winsome tones.
" I am pleased to hear you say that," said
Joshua ; " yes, pleased more than I can tell."
'' Art thou % " asked Lydia, looking up.
194 Sweet Lydia Fell
Her violet eyes met her cousin's admiring
glances, and, in that moment, the beautiful
Quakeress, and the "man from the North" became
conscious of a mutual though unuttered love.
Sileutly Lydia and Joshua returned to the
house, and presently the minister departed.
That evening, when the apple blossoms flut-
tered down upon Lydia Fell's clasped hands,
only the birds singing in the laburnum branches,
and the bees humming among the lilacs, heard
the fair maiden saying, " The Lord knows what
Sweet Lydia Fell !
The minister remained the fourteen days, and
then returned to Abergele in the North.
But his love for Lydia Fell remained unuttered.
"He will come again in the summer," thought
Lydia. "It is well he does not act hastily.
Words once spoken cannot be recalled."
One day, when autumn leaves filled the deep
valleys of North Wales, and September gales sent
the mountainous waves rolling wildly landward
across the sands of Abergele, Joshua Morgan
quitted his study table, and went out for a
Sea-mists and salt spray driven by the wind,
came across the solitary sands, where the minister
chose to take his walk. His head throbbed and
his heart beat with the spirit of unrest. The
Much Pre-occupied 195
time had come when he could no longer conceal
his love for Lydia Fell.
An invitation had been received from Quakers'
Yard, and the surrounding district, imploring
him to preach there at Christmas time.
Aunt Dinah pressed him to come. They had
" such a blessed time in April," she said.
''And 1 had too !" he responded.
He would go — yes, he would once more go to
Quakers' Yard, and see sweet Lydia Fell.
But the time had come when he must tell his
mother of his intentions, and it was in prepara-
tion for this, that he paced the sands, and sought
strength from the voices of the winds and the
waves, who seemed like messengers of the Most
When he returned home he sat on one side of
the hearth in the twilight and firelight. His
mother was cosily seated in her easy-chair oppo-
" Thee dost seem much pre-occupied," re-
marked Abio;ail Mors^an.
" That I am," replied the minister.
'' And wherefore \ " questioned his mother.
Joshua pondered for a moment. '' You know
what God hath said," remarked Joshua, pausing.
" It is not like my son to hesitate," said Abigail.
" It is not good that man should be alone,"
196 Sweet Lydia Fell
'•' So — so," said Abigail somewhat testily; "the
long and short of it is, I suppose thee dost con-
'' I do," said Joshua candidly.
" And with whom ? " asked his mother.
'' Guess," said he.
As Joshua was called " a lady's man," she
knew of several fair aspirants for his heart and
" With Miss Lloyd ? It would be a good thing
for thee to marry her. She's worth her thou-
sands," said Abigail.
" Not worth half as much as the woman I
'' Is it Miss Eobert of Ehyl ? "
"Miss Price of Denbigh?"
" Wrong again."
" Well, it must be Miss Rees of Llanwrst."
Joshua shook his head.
" Miss Preece of Rhuddlan % "
" Somebody further south," said Joshua.
" There was a Miss Llewelyn of Brecon thee
wast attentive to once," said his mother. " Thee
dost know thee'st spoken of them all to me. And
I know for certain thee'st paid attentions to
"Just because they liked it, and they were
' ' speak, I beseech you / " 197
very attentive to me," said Joshua. " But things
are altered now."
'' Well, it seems to me," said Abigail, smiling,
" ifc is reserved for the seventh woman to lay
hold of thee, and conquer."
Joshua — rememberiug his six flirtations — for
all the girls loved to flirt with the handsome
minister, laughed and said, " It seems so."
'' And the seventh — who may she be ?" asked
" A kinswoman of mine," he said.
" Kachel David, daughter of my cousin Dinah?"
guessed Abigail. " She is too young for thee."
" No ; sweet Lydia Fell, daughter of Zebedee
Fell," was the reply.
A dark cloud, an angry scowl, passed over
Abigail's face, which turned pale and ghastly
even there, where the firelight gained mastery
over the deepening twilight.
^' Mother ! " exclaimed Joshua, starting back
from his seat, and gazing at the angry and
pallid face upturned to him.
" Mother !" he repeated. " Speak, I beseech
Slowly, very slowly, her lips opened, and
briugiug the clenched fist of her right hand
down with force upon the arm of the chair,
Abigail, in withering tones, exclaimed, *' I would
rather look on thy dead face — thy coffined body
198 Sweet Lydia Fell
— thy closed grave, than see thee the husband
of Lydia Fell ! "
Joshua Morgan felt stunned, and for a time
was like one dumb. At length he remembered
that on his return from Quakers' Yard she did
not take any notice of his remarks about
When he recovered his voice he mustered
courage, and said, " Mother, let me know why
this bitter antipathy to a woman you know
little about ? "
'' Listen," said Abigail harshly, though now
more composed, but still pallid in the face, and
severe in tone. *^ Listen : When I was seven-
teen the world held only one man for me, and
I then believed I was the only girl on earth
for him. He was twenty-three, and should
have known his own mind. We loved each
other devotedly for three years. When I was
twenty, Dorothy Raymond, the Sassenach (Saxon)
Quakeress, came to our home. She robbed
me of the man I loved, and I never forgave
her or him ! That man was my own first cousin
— Zebedee Fell ! Three months later, I was
married to thy father. Dorothy's eldest child
was born the same year as thee, but it died soon.
That was their first punishment. The second
and third children were born, and died directly.
They had three punishments. Thou wert six
*' Take heed, for I mean it " 1 99
years old when Lyclia was born, and six months
later Dorothy Fell died. After this, wilt thou
wish to marry Lydia Fell ? "
" Sweet Lydia Fell !" murmured the minister.
'' It was not her fault. Surely, mother, in the
years that are gone, you could have buried the
''Joshua," exclaimed the relentless mother,
" if thou dost wish to bring down my grey hairs
with sorrow to the grave — if thou dost wish to
bring bitterness into my dwindling life — to gall
the end of my existence with a revival of the
old sorrow, the old hatred — marry Lydia Fell !
But one thing I ask thee. Tf thou dost marry
her, bring her not to my sight. Once she is thy
wife, my doors are closed against thee and her."
" Mother ! " gasped Joshua.
Abigail once more grew white with passion,
and going to the depth of bitterness, she con-
tinued — " If thee dost marry Lydia Fell, not
one penny shalt thou have after me. My doors
shall be shut against thee; then go — go, and
live upon the miserable pittance thou has got as
a preacher. Hear what I say, and take heed,
for I mean it."
Joshua Morgan strode to his study and locked
the door. At first he sat down by the table,
leaned his head upon his arms, and wept as only
a man can weep.
200 Sweet Lydia Fell
The struggle between duly and love was
fierce and of long duration.
At length duty was triumphant. He rejoiced
that he had not told Lydia of his love. Now,
she should never know it.
He sought his mother, but she was nowhere
to be found.
He asked the servant where she was gone.
^' Mistress is gone to her room," said the maid.
Joshua ascended the stairs, and knocked at
his mother's door, but he did not receive an
answer. Turning the handle, he entered.
His mother was laid on the bed, and looking
more like a dead than a living body.
^' Mother," he cried, stroking her cold hands
and kissing her pallid face and brow.
At first he thought she was dead, because
the warmth of his hands failed to revive her.
He called the maid, and asked her to biing him
a cordial. As he wetted his mother's lips
therewith, he told the maid to go for the
The minutes seemed as long as hours, and yet
no symptom of life appeared. The doctor came,
and presently declared that the minister's mother
was suffering from a shock to the heart.
" She will recover," he said, "but must be
kept very quiet, and not allowed to be excited
in the least."
Joshuas Vow 20 1
Through an illness extending over many weeks,
Joshua Morgan nursed his mother as tenderly as
if she were a babe. At times her mind slightly
wandered, and then she said the hateful face of
Dorothy Fell haunted her.
Abio^ail recovered and came downstairs aoain,
but Josljua made a vow never to speak of mar-
riaofe while his mother lived.
He wrote to his uncle. Deacon David, declining
the kind invitation to visit Quakers' Yard at
Christmas time. In a private note to his Aunt
Dinah he told all — screening nothing. The most
precious part to her was where he said, '' I shall
never marry. But tliere is only one woman in
the world for me, and that is — sweet Lydia
Lydia looked eagerly forward to seeing Joshua
at the Christmas time, and when she heard that
he declined the invitation, she wondered why.
" He gives no reason," said Deacon David.
" But he supposes we take it for granted that
he could not leave his mother after so serious an
illness. And it is a tedious journey, from the
North to the South," said Dinah.
" We were very thoughtless to forget Joshua's
poor, suffering mother," said Lydia tenderly.
j^Duty should always come first."
And Lydia folded her hands, while she men-
tally said, '' The Lord knows what is best."
202 Sweet Lydia Fell
" If she only knew the truth," said Aunt
Dinah mentally. " But it is better sbe should
not. Her thoughts about Joshua's mother are
pure and good, and I am truly thankful that
Lydia Fell is in no way like Abigail Morgau."
Joshua never went to the South again.
Time and stern duty soothed,, if they did not
heal, his wounds of sorrow, and he went about
preaching as of old.
He settled down into confirmed bachelorhood,
and enjoyed the mild attentions of the six
ladies who had "set their caps " at him, but,
in turn, each got married, and it was left
for them to amusingly remind him of his
" willow cap."
Joshua Morgan had been keeping appoint-
ments in Montgomeryshire, and the last place
against his name in " the publication" was hill-
encircled Llanidloes, where, after the service, he
found himself snow-bound. Locomotion over
the hills was impossible, and foot-passengers
were unable to reach even the nearest villages
because of the deep and dangerous snow-
In the ruddy glow of the firelight, as the
gloaming deepened into darkness, Joshua Morgan
Joshua! s Reverie 203
sat alone, moodily watchiug the fast falling
He heard the sonorous tickino^ of the old clock
in the hall, the purring of the cats on the hearth,
and now and again, faintly from the distance,
came sounds of active housewifery.
Outside, as the twilight merged into early
night, all was snowy and frigid — inside all was
warm, cosy, and glowing.
Joshua's reverie was disturbed by a rapping
at the door, and his partly audible " Come in "
had an immediate response.
He looked around.
There, standing beside him, was Miss Lloyd of
"You here?" he asked in amazement.
" Didn't you know I came yesterday ? " she
said, sitting down in the arm-chair.
Another rap at the door, and Miss Roberts of
Joshua looked bewildered, as he o^reeted the
new arrival, who, after shaking hands with him,
took a seat beside him.
By-and-by Miss Price of Denbigh, Miss
Llewelyn of Brecon, Miss Preece of Rliuddlan,
and Miss Rees of Llanwrst, entered.
All these ladies at the same time in Llanid-
It puzzled the minister's brain.
204 Sweet Lydia Fell
Then Joshua thought to himself, " Perhaps
they happen to be visiting the town just now,
and, knowing I am snow-bound, have kindly
come to look after me, for the sake of old
Aloud, he thanked them for their kindness
in coming, especially ''in such weather."
The ladies almost simultaneously smiled and
bowed. There sat they who, in the years gone
by, had been so "attentive to the minister,"
and with whom he had so willingly flirted.
Joshua Morgan was embarrassed.
He endeavoured to talk, but to no purpose,
and seeing the ladies appeared to be preoccupied,
Joshua relapsed into silence, hoping that soon
his kindly hostess would come and explain
Suddenly, a gust like a hurricane rattled the
windows, and the door flew open.
Joshua shut it, and then went back to his
deep and cosy arm-chair.
For a few moments he closed his eyes, and
when he reopened them the ladies had vanished,
and in their stead beside him stood Lydia
Yes ; there she was, smiling and as beautiful
In the ruddy fire glow her fair face looked
radiant with joy. Her violet eyes, with their
After Long Years 205
long sweeping lashes, were bright and undimmed,
and her golden brown hair showed no traces of
the touch of time.
How lovely she looked, with her pretty hair
nestling around her forehead, and in some places
escaping from under her cap. Her snowy-white
kerchief was, as of old, folded over her bosom,
and the folds of her neat drab dress fell softly
around her fioure.
Sweet Lydia Fell !
The past revived, the present faded wholly
away, as Joshua, after long years of heart agony
and sorrow, clasped his lost love in his arms,
and kissed her.
" Come, come quickly," whispered Lydia.
"There is no time to be lost. Oh, Joshua,
Joshua, thy mother is dying ! "
'• My mother dying ? " he said in broken
" Yes, and she would see thee before she goes
hence. Come, I beseech thee, come."
In the hour of sad tidings and sorrow the
minister's heart went back to the past, and,
as he once more clasped sweet Lydia in his
arms, whether the message bore a larger portion
of joy than woe, who shall tell?
The Quakeress moved to go, and Joshua
followed his beautiful lost love, sweet Lydia
2o6 Sweet Lydia Fell
He went with her into the hall way, and
just as he was taking his hat off the peg, his
hostess called him, " Please come to tea."
"To tea V he asked in bewihlerment.
" Yes, it is half-past six o'clock. But I didn't
like to wake you before."
''Wake me ? " queried Joshua, amazed. " Have
I been to sleep % "
" Yes, ever since about four o'clock."
"Dear me, dear me," said Joshua aloud,
but to himself he murmured, " It was only a
dream, after all ! "
The dream made the minister uneasy, and
a day later he started on his perilous journey
homeward, with the greatest possible difficulty
reaching Abergele just one day before his aged
She had been seized with a serious illness
about six o'clock, when, in a dream, Lydia Fell
told him his mother was dying.
In April the "man from tlie North" went
down to Quakers' Yard, where he arrived one
evening quite unexpectedly.
He reached Aunt Dinah's in the dusk of the
evening, and quite unrecognised by the few
people who passed him.
"Joshua Moro^an!" exclaimed Aunt Dinah,
All in All to Him 207
tenderly greeting him. '' So tbou'rt come at
last ! "
When they reached the parlour Joshua said,
'' Time has dealt gently with you, dear Aunt
"It hath indeed, and with my husband
" And Eachel ? " asked Joshua.
" She is married, and has four children."
^'Ah!" sighed Joshua. ''These eight years
have seemed like a century to me."
Joshua could not yet bring himself to utter
the name nearest his heart.
" And how is Uncle Zebedee ? " asked Joshua,
drawing nearer the subject that was all in all
" Uncle Zebedee ! I thought thee didst kuow,
but there, w^e have not written to thee since
February. He died on the first of March."
*' And Lydia \ "
"She hath been low, and weak ever since.
For two months she nursed her father day and
night, and her strength gave way."
Not w^aiting to take refreshment with Aunt
Dinah and Deacon David, Joshua wxnt to see
Finding the front-door wide open he strolled
noiselessly in, and turned to the parlour.
A bright fire was burning on the hearth, and
2o8 Sweet Lydia Fell
beside it on a couch was tlie wasted form of
Lydia, propped up with pillows.
The glance was too much for Joshua, so he
stepped out into the hall to dash the tears from
Lydia, hearing the retreating footsteps, feebly
cried, ^' Auut Dinah dear, is it thee ? "
With that the minister entered, and gently
said, " Lydia."
The Quakeress moved among her pillows.
" Who — who is it ? " she asked.
Joshua stepped forward.
"It is Joshua, come at last ! " exclaimed
Lydia, extendiug her thin worn hand, which the
minister took and held within his own.
Then he drew a chair beside the invalid.
At that moment he first observed the real
alteration in his cousin.
She looked thin and worn. All the delicate
colour had left her cheeks, and they were
hollow and wasted as her poor little thin
" I am sorry to find you thus," said Joshua,
" but you will get better soon. Time is a great
'' Nay, Joshua, I shall never recover. For
two years I have felt the end coming, but my
poor fathers death was the finishing stroke,"
said Lydia. " The Lord knoweth what is
The Story of Joshua s Love 209
best. I am prepared to go whenever He calls
" You shall not go/' said Joshua passionately.
" You must live — live for me, Lydia."
Then, like a mountain torrent, he poured
forth the story of his love, and the conquest of
duty, screening not even his dead mother in
the intensity of his passion.
" Thou hast suffered much," said Lydia ten-
derly, '* and I would I could live, for thy dear
There, in the fire glow, they plighted their
troth, and Lydia felt conscious it was only the
union of souls for a short time on earth but
for ever in heaven.
When summer roses died in the old home
garden, Lydia the beautiftd passed away, and
Joshua Moro^an returned to Abero'ele, feelino-
like one from whom life's sunshine had been
cruelly wrested by a fate relentless as the
For years after that he annually visited
Quakers' Yard, and the burying place of the
Friends, where, so late as sixty years ago, a
moss-grown stone still bore the partially obli-
terated name of Lydia Fell.
This story was taken from an aged minister's
note-book. Therein it was stated that in his
childhood he knew a sad-faced, but powerful
Sweet Lydia Fell
preacher, named Joshua Morgan, who, even at
the age of ninety, travelled from the North to
the South, and ever spoke to his friends of
the duty that vanquished love, and martyred
sweet Lydia Fell !
^be Mel0b flDerr^^flDan
F the '' Merry-Man " was not one of the
best in his profession, ask the sailors
who surrounded him in the inn at Port
Dinorwic, known formerly as Felin Hen — ask
the children from Mona to Montgomery — ask
the girls from Snowdon, westward or south-
ward to the sea — ask the mothers from St.
Asaph to St. David's.
He was a veritable Welsh wag, or, as the
country folk would say, a "Merry-Man." To
call him a clown, or an acrobat, would be to
libel him, even though he sometimes appeared
among a troupe of strolling players, and went
in for what the people called "a lot of antics
and capers," but he more frequently went about
only with a man and a dog. The man played
the harp, and the dog danced to any gay or
melancholy tune from " Hob-y-deri-Dando," to
212 The Welsh Merry-Man
Wherever the "Merry-Man" went he was
welcome. Rough and ready sailors, in all the
seaport towns of Wales, greeted him with
friendly hand-grasp and a tankard of civriv-da.
The housewives on the dusty roadsides were
ever ready to let him rest awhile from the heat
of summer, or to shelter from the rains of early
Where he went in the winter was a secret
known best to himself. In May he re-appeared
and continued his peregrinations from north to
south, until the fading and falling leaves pro-
claimed the approach of November.
Nobody knew^ his name, and when asked he
would say —
" Elecampane, Elecampane,
If you ask me again,
I will tell you tlie same ; "
or, laughing heartily, he would say, " Don't you
know ? — why, the Sassenach do call me ' Our
One wet afternoon in summer, when the inn
at Port Dinorwic was crowded by noisy sailors,
the Merry-Man appeared.
He was accompanied by his friend with the
harp, and a dog.
" Where'st been this long time ? " said one and
The Spring Cleanin 2 1 3
" Where I've been before," replied the Merry-
" You do come in poor times for these parts,"
said the landlord.
"'Tis always poor times in May," said the
Merry-Man. " Spring cleaning is uncommon
dirty work, and the women get that fractious
over it — don't they, missis ? "
The landlady smiled.
'* The worst week I did ever spend was with
Morgan Lloyd in Din as Mawddwy, when his wife
was took with the spring cleanin'."
" Now^ for it ! " exclaimed the auditors, almost
in one breath, as the sailors sat down before
their tankards of beer.
The landlord took his seat in the arm-chair ;
the landlady seated herself in the corner of the
settle farthest from the fire.
"Well, I wass tell you," said the Merry-Man,
using a common Welsh provincial expression,
"how Mary Jones was took with the spring
cleanin'. Soon after twelve of a Sunday night I
did hear odd sounds ; crockery did rattle — glasses
did jingle — an by three in the mornin' Mary Jones
was rampin'. Tijings was taken down from dirty
shelves — clean crockery to be dusted was put on
one side, and crockery to be washed was put on
the other. Come Tuesday, nothin' was in its
place. Well, the dirtiest thing I do know of
214 ^^^^ Welsh Me7^7y-Man
is spring cleanin ! We was told that there was
to be no dinner 'cause the kitchen grate was to
be cleaned, an' the saucepans was to be scoured.
Wednesday there was no breakfast, 'cause the
kittles was to be cleaned inside and out. The
beds was taken to pieces — ticks an' all — an' we
had to sleep on the floor. Thursday we was
told to take off our boots and walk barefooted,
'fraid we'd dirty the floor, an' same day we'd to
eat the food in our hands to spare the plates.
'Twas cruel bad times. She did blacklead the
outsides of the saucepans and kittles. She did
clean the clock by taking out the works and
boilin' them. She did rub beeswax on the
chairs, on the tables, on the posts of the bed-
sticks, on the floors, till they did come as slippery
as ice itself — and true as I be sittin' here, she
did beeswax the bellows ! I did ask if she'd like
to beeswax me !
" Well, well, the dirtiest work I do know of
is spring cleanin'. But, to go on with my story.
Davy Jones did go out, an' worst of all, he did
go to the public-house, an' he did get drunk —
like all of us do get sometimes — and fust thing
on comin' home at night was to ask for his
fiddle. ' You kent have the fiddle,' says Mari,
' you bean't in a fit state to touch it.' ^ I will
have my fiddle,' says he, and off straight he did
go to look for the instrument. It did belong to
Davy Jones' s Fiddle
his greet-grandfatlier, an' he did set greet price
on it. In the twinkliii' of an eye back he did
come. ' Mari/ he did bawl as loud as he could,
' Mari, what hast thee bin an' done with the
fiddle ? ' ^ Bin an done, to be sure,' says she,
flouncin' ; ' I've bin an cleaned it — that's all.
Time for it to be clean ed, I should think. 'Twas
thick with dirt, an' as black as the chimbley
back.' 'But, Mari/ says Davy, 'how did'st thee
clean it ? ' ' How, indeed ! I'll tell you how in
a minute. I did put it in a tub of rain water,
an I did scrub an scrub it till I did jest get the
skin off my hands. 'Twas that dirty.' Davy
did jump with temper. 'The 'ooman's mad,'
says he ; ' who did ever hear of any 'ooman in
her senses scrubbin' a fiddle ! There — 'tis ruined
for life ! ' ' No, 'tisn't,' says Mari, ' I did take it
out an' wipe it, an' then I did dry it before the
fire.' ' Before the fire ! ' says Davy. ' Iss, to be
sure,' says Mari, ' where would you have me dry
it — in the sun \ Then I did beeswax it, an'
look at it now ! ' Mari did take the fiddle from
him, and did hold it over to me. Sure anuff,
there was the fiddle beeswaxed from stem to
stern, as you sailors do say. Davy Jones of
Dinas Mawddwy did hang his fiddle behind the
door, an' from that day to this he did never
touch it again. An' Mari was never took again
with such a bout of spring cleanin'."
2i6 The Welsh Merry- Man
Loucl laughter and applause succeeded the
Merry-Man's story, wliicli, after all, was only a
" good skit," as the Welsh sailors said, on the ex-
tremes of spring cleaning in some parts of Wales.
Soon the sailors clamoured for another story.
The Merry-Man readily granted the request,
aud he explained that he spoke in imperfect
Anglo-Cymric dialect, so as to keep his stories
to the letter and life as far as possible. Some-
times he would imitate the Anglo-French, some-
times he imitated the American dialect, but the
people more thoroughly enjoyed his descriptive
stories of their own land.
" Well," resumed the Merry-Man, " there
was a greet big man from the North did go to
Llundain (London). The man from the North
did speak wonderful, all things considerin'. For
he did know very little English, poor fellow, but
he did do his best. Now he did learn his speech
perfect before he did come, but he did want to
say ' a few remarks ' before he did begin his
greet address. 'I did feel greet wish to see
the greet City,' says he, *an' I did say if moun-
tain won't come to Ma'omet, Ma'omet will go
to the mountain, an' here I did come. An' as
I did come down for the first time in the train,
I did say England got not half bad mountains,
but they be little, an' poor anuff. And I did
say to myself. If all the little mountains in
" A^wther bit I do see dull in you " 217
England was put together, that would be a big
mountain, but not so big as one of the moun-
tains with us, the mount called Y-Wyddfa
(Snowdon), or Carnedd Llewellyn, or Carnedd
Davyd. Well, after all, I do see you are so
dull here. You don't know what ' talcen ty '
is in English ; 'tis the forehead of the house.
You don't know what ' coes bren' is in English ;
'tis timber leg ! And then there's another bit
I do see dull in you, for all you do live in the
big City ; an' I will tell you all 'bout it. When
I was come to the deacon's, they did welcome
me kind anuff at first, an' I did set down by
the tea-table feelin' comfortable an' homely. An*
after tea — I didn't like to mention it before —
I did say as quiet as possible, ' If you will please
to excuse me, Mr. Morgan, in takin' the liberty
to say so, but I do want you to get the small-
pox.' ' Get the smallpox ? ' asks he. ' I hope
to goodness I shan't get it.' 'Now I do think
that uncommon unchristian-like, for I do want
you to get the smallpox,' says I, determined.
' An' I do think it unbe'comin' of you, a minister
of the gospel, to want me to get the smallpox.'
We did get to high words — iss, indeed, look
you ; for all the time I did want him to get
the smallpox. Well, I did go out, and I did
go to the stasshoon, an' I did say to the — what
do they call him, what runs 'bout up an' down
2i8 The Welsh Merry -Man
with a truck most of the time, au' calls out
somethin' I don't understand at all. There,
I do know now — 'tis the Sassenach for Irish
stout. So says I to the mau, 'Excuse me
speakiij' — an' I did try to be as genteel as I
could — but I do want you to get the smallpox.'
There's a look he did turn on me ! 'Twas anuff
to curdle vineoar. ' You can wish me to o;et
nothin' worse than the smallpox,' says the man;
' I hope I shall get nothing of the kind.' So I
did go off to the man that do go to shut the
doors of the trains when they do come in and
go out, an' I did begin as civil as possible, for I
was getting dusprad 'fraid of the people here in
the greet City. So I did try to speak mild to
the man what the English do call a watch-
chain — ' I do want you to get the smallpox.'
'You're a kind fellow,' says the man, 'to want
anybody to get the smallpox, I must say.' An
he did turn on his heels. Well, I did never
think anybody would treat a stranger like that,
in a strange land, too. By-and-by I did go to
where there was a street number of the men that
do go in the Sassenach by the name of Irish stout,
an' I did say, ' I do want you to get the small-
pox.' You did never hear such a noise in your life !
One did tell me to go to Jericho, another did say
somethin' 'bout sending my granny to shoe ducks.
' Shoe ducks ? ' says I ; 'do they do such a thing
Before the Magistrates 2 1 9
in Llundain as shoe clucks.' Then they did
laugh outright ; but never fear, I didn't mind
'em a bit, so I did go on — ' In Gwalia, where I
did come from, they do shoe horses an asses,
but a Welsh donkey, leave alone a man, would
laugh to see a duck in shoes ! ' I did think
myself uncommon clever to turn the tables on
them like that. But they — why they did laugh
worse than ever. An' I did ask them what for ?
' What for ! ' says one of the men, * I'll give you
what for soon if you don't clear off this platform.'
Well, I did never feel more put on in my life.
But the old Welsh blood was up in a minute, an
boilin' over too. I did only say I did want
them to get the smallpox, an with that the
man did take me by the collar and go to put me
out of the stasshoou. Well, I did turn on him,
an' somehow or other we did come to blows, an'
the end of it was, they did take me to the
lock-up for insulting the man in the stasshoon.
Next day I was took 'fore the magistrates, an' I
did tell them plain anuff how it did all come
about jest because I did say I did w^ant them to
got the smallpox. The magistrates did laugh
outrio-ht. An' one of them did know the old
language, an' he did say to me, ' They thought
you meant the frech iven.^ I did laugh fit to
kill myself, an' there was no wonder they did
think me mad to be wantin' the people to get
2 20 The Welsh Mei^ry-Man
i\\Q.frech iven (smallpox), when all the time I did
only want my little small — Box, they did spell it.
'Twill be the first an' last time for me to go
to Llundain ! "
Loudly laughed the company and eager were
the demands for more stories, and, after the
Merry-Man had rested awhile, he resumed his
art, which, if not always so amusing as his
antics, was, to some at least, entertaining.
He did not always talk in that quaint and
queer patois of Wales, reserving that chiefly
for stories illustrating the peculiar idiosyncrasies
of the Principality. Sometimes he ran on in
fluent English, which often pleased the people
beyond measure, for the Welsh dearly delight
in listening to a skilled conversationalist.
" You know but few of the old stories of
Wales," said the Merry-Man. " If I could Td
make a book on them, like great writers do
about England and Scotland and Ireland. I've
got a story that will stand side by side with
any of them, and I only wish I could write it.
It is the story of the Kobber s Leap. Khys
Coch, or Ehys the Red, was one of the cele-
brated 'Men of Mawddwy,' who were robbers
in days gone by. A price was set on his head
because he was the leader or chief of the
robbers. The price was large and tempting,
and it tempted one of his own band of robbers
Rhys the Red 2 2 1
to try and capture the leader of the men of
Mawddwy. But, by-and-bye, Khys the Eed began
to have suspicions about his men, and one day
he told lolo, his chief man, what he thought.
" ' There is little faith in any one of them,' said
Rhys the Red ; ' one can scarcely trust a man.'
'''The times are bad,' said lolo, who felt
deeply the persecution of the law.
"Just before this time the Kins^ of Ens^land
had passed laws for the destruction of the men
of Mawddwy, and there was no peace for the
" Rhys began to fear his own men, and was
continually changing his quarters. Sometimes
he would suddenly go down to the lowlands,
and sometimes he would keep close among
the mountains. The men of Mawddwy were very
fierce, and never scrupled to take anything they
could set their hands on. They always had
plenty of horses, so that they could ride away
like the wind when chased. Rhys the Red
had a horse named Lightning, and he was very
fond of it.
" 'Never mind, my beauty,' he said one day,
stroking his horse's splendid arched head and
glossy neck, ' thou art swift as the eagle in its
flight from Caer Eyri — bright as the lightning
in the Pass of Glasslyn — firm as the rocks in
wilds of Montgomery ! '
222 The Welsh Merry- Man
*' More than gold, more than maiden or wife,
and, next to his own life, Ehys the Red loved
his horse. In speed it surpassed the swiftest
horse among the mountains, and it would ven-
ture where any other animal feared to stand.
" Rhys the Red had over ^-^^ hundred men
at his beck and call when the law set a price
on his head, and in less than a year the number
had dwindled down to three hundred. One
day he divided his company into three, and
sent one to the west, one to the east, and
one to the south, reserving the other part for
himself and fifty men. Rhys and his men rode
on into parts unknown to them, and, while
wandering through some woods, the party came
to be separated. By-and-bye, Rhys noticed
that, while pondering deeply on the course he
intended to pursue, he was left behind. At
first he thought it was accidental, but at last,
after shouting with might and main, he believed
himself to be betrayed. He rode swiftly on,
and soon heard the roaring of a torrent down
below him. Then, looking back, he saw the
king's men in full pursuit. If Rhys turned
back he must fall into their hands — to ride
on was to fall into danger unknown. But
ride on he had to, because the English were
chasing him. At last, after riding at the top
of his speed, and outstripj)ing the king's men,
TJie Robber s Leap 223
lo and behold, he reached the torrent that he
had heard in the distance.
" Khys the Eed baited a minute or two to
consider what was to be done. The king's
men were behind, the yawning torrent before
him. He must be taken, or leap the torrent !
" ' My Lightning, my Lightning ! ' he said,
stroking his trusty steed's bead, 'fleet of foot
as thou art, I like not to try thee here. But,
my life, my prize ! thou must leap ! 'Tis
better to perish together in the torrent than
to be taken ! '
" The horse seemed to understand his master's
wish ; then, waiting as if to measure the dis-
tance, he leaped across the torrent and swiftly
and safely reached the other side. The king's
men held their breath, and then the leader
cried out, 'Surely in the length and breadth
of the land there is not a braver man than
Ehys the Eed ! ' And to this day the spot is
known as the ' Eobber's Leap.' "
Before the Merry-Man ceased, the wind began
howling in the chimney, the waves roared, the
rain was beating agaiust the window panes, and
twilight gloom proclaimed the near approach
of night. For a short time the Merry-Man
sat silently in the cheerful fire-light ; but when
the candles were lighted, he deserted the art
of story - telling for that of antics, to the in-
2 24 ^^^^ Welsh Me7^ry-Mun
finite pleasure of all beholders in the quaint
old kitchen of the inn at Port Dinorwic,
He was the last of his kind, for the Welsh
Merry-Man should not be confused with clowns
and acrobats of to-day. In every sense he was
a very simple, harmless, and popular maker
of mirth, whose chief business was" to relate
laughable stories, with interludes of song,
curious dances, grotesque grimaces, and extra-
ordinary feats demonstrating muscular power.
The Merry-Man never wore powder, paint,
or mottled garments. He was simply a relic
of the Morris Dancers of old and wandering
minstrels of the past.
^be Mbite Momcn of Xunbi?
OOMING dim and mysteriously through
shrouding mists of morning, the storm-
beaten cliffs and wave-riven rocks of
Luudy looked like grim and voiceless wardens
of unrecorded romances and forgotten tragedies.
Scared with grisly seam and haggard cleft,
the dark and barren granite ridges, hurled in
wild disorder on the sparse shingle, caught
the first red gleam of the summer daybreak.
Above, on the bare and wind-blown heights
now capped with cloud-reefs, all was cold and
grey and unfriendly. Below, among the lesser
cliffs, fantastic coves and shadowy grottoes,
myriads of sea-birds whirled wildly, as though
glad to welcome the return of sunrise. All the
jagged ledges and jutting rocks were swarmed
with them, and the morning air was filled with
their wild and discordant screams.
In the words of an old chronicler, it is " so
immured with rocks, and impaled with beetle-
2 26 The White Women of Lttndy
browed cliffs, that there is no entrance but for
Drayton in his Polyolhion sings —
*' England and Wales strive in this song,.
To whether Lundy doth belong ;
When either's nymphs, to clear the doubt,
By music mean to try it out.
This while in Sabrin's court, strong factions strangely
Since Cornwall, for her own, and as her proper due,
Claimed Lundy, which was said to Cambria to belong,
Who oft had sought redress, for that her ancient wrong."
He then goes on —
" Of all the inlaid isles her sovereign Severn keeps,
That bathe their amorous breasts within her secret deeps
(To love her Barry much, and Scilly though she seem,
The Flat-Holm, and the Steep as likewise to esteem),
This noblest British nymph yet likes her Lundy best."
The decision appears in the next canto —
" In this song Severn gives doom
What of her Lundy should become."
In conclusion, the poet sings —
*' Then take my final doom, pronounced lastly — this,
That Lundy like ally'd to Wales and England is."
Around the peninsula of Lametor and Eat
Island, the silver gieen waves of the Atlantic
Captain Pronoville 227
rolled surging against the cliffs, aud at their
base the surf foamed and frothed ceaselessly.
The ruins of Marisco Castle looked gloomy
and grand as the clouds lifted, and the first faint
sunbeams worked curious traceries thereon.
It was a day to be remembered by the few
islanders that remained.
Before the troubled times of the great Rebel-
lion, and when it was almost deserted by its
hereditary owners, Lundy was known as one of
the very worst of pirates' nests.
It afterwards became the refuge for people
during the civil wars. Echard, the old English
historian, states that after Lord Say and Sele
"had lived to see his fine ambition defeated by
the supremacy of Cromwell, he sought a volun-
tary retreat, or rather imprisonment, in the isle
Later on, the island regained its old reputa-
tion as the headquarters of pirates and despe-
radoes, and a safe resort for criminals and
adventurers of all nationalities.
In 1663, reports were sent to the Admiralty
that " pirates and desperadoes " had *' estab-
lished themselves there," and that " one Captain
Pronoville, a Frenchman, having grown despe-
rate, had fixed himself at Lundy, and was doing-
great damage to merchants."
For three years Pronoville had been playing
2 28 The White Women of Lttndy
havoc ill the Golden Bay, as Piarnstaple Bay was
called, because of the numberless prizes gained
there by pirates.
On this June day in 1666, when the Atlantic
rollers caug;ht the first flush of sunrise, and over
the vast green water wastes the earliest golden
glory of the summer sunshine rippled in quiver-
ing radiance, two wliite-sailed skifi"s, with sea-
birds wheeling in their wake, rounded Rat
Island and entered the roads.
Pronoville, the pirate, standing on the heights
like a bird of prey, sent down his minions to
demand the cause of the intrusion of the
strangers. Buccaneer as he was, he felt fearful
of spies — of other pirates coming to share the
island, and above all he was much afraid of his
powerful rivals the Dutch.
" It looks like the Dutch," said he, scanning
Then he descended from the lordly heights
above the sea, and went down to the roads.
" Who may ye be ? " thundered Pronoville to
the three men just landed.
" We be peaceable Welshmen, come over to
see some of our relatives that do live in the
island," said the spokesman of the party.
Pronoville had doubts, whereupon the Welsh-
men produced satisfactory proofs in support of
their statement, so they were allowed to pass
in peace to the Gannet's Coombe to their
relatives, who gained their living as feather
The three men were the sons of the veritable
master of the Mumbles (a suburb of Swansea)
mau-o'-war, which, he said, was armed with
" three leatherin' guns and a handspik'."
They came to see and befriend their only
sister Mary Marriner, formerly Llewellyn, who
had recently been widowed and left in ill
When the Welshmen reached Mary's home in
Gannet Coombe, a thoroughly Celtic greeting
It was " Oh dear, dear, an' here you be, come
to see your poor sister ; " and '' Didn't I know it
was you V and then in Welsh, ''Look, look, my
Then amid tears and sobs and smiles, the
Welsh element subsided, and order once more
resumed its sway. It was pleasant for Mary
Marriner in Gannet Coombe, because her
brothers had brought '' plenty of money " and
spent it freely.
In their rude manner all this " spendin' " was
intended to assuage the soul agonies of the
widow, and still the sorrows of the orphans.
After a few days had passed, Pronoville was
disposed to seek the society of these Welshmen,
230 The White Women of Lundy
and, before the week was out, he spent the
greater part of his time with them.
One day, while Pronoville and the Welshmen
were regaling themselves with undiluted spirit
in Gannet Coombe, the wary old sea-pirate
suggested that the visitors should "have a try"
at his own profitable profession.
'' You'd make money ding-dong," said Prono-
ville, slapping one of the men on the shoulder.
'' Don't know so much about that," said Jacob
Llewellyn. " It would take a long time to
learn, an' by the time I did know the way
how, I'd be ready for my grave."
Pronoville laughingly scorned the idea.
'' You're a young man yet," said he with a
" Not so young," said Jacob. " I'm on the
wrong side of sixty now."
" Then you bad better have a try at my
game," to the other Welshman.
"Well," said Reuben Llewellyn, "it's un-
common kind of you to give us a chance, and,
if my brother Pharaoh would join, I don't mind
trying, an' see what'U come of it."
" What do you say, Pharaoh % " asked Prono-
" I've a mind to try, but I'd like to take a few
days to think over it," said Pharaoh.
" By all means," said Pronoville.
Welsh Buccaneers 2 3 1
It was agreed that three days hence decision
should be made. That night, in the Gaunet
Coombe, Jacob was by no means agreeable. He
disliked the idea of Welshmen leno^nins; with
wicked ^^sea-thieves and robbers," and went so
far as to say that there never had been any
Welsh pirates, or wild rovers and robbers
Whereupon he was reminded of the Welsh
buccaneers, who had scoured the seas, and
scourged the merciless taskmasters of the far
"Let's turn buccaneers," said Eeuben ; "it's
a fine game, Pharaoh.
" Ay, ay ! " responded Pharaoh.
Mary Marriner, listening to this conversation,
observed that although Jacob appeared to be
opposed to the proposition, there was a curious
twinkling in his eyes, and secret satisfaction
with the course his brothers intended to pursue.
And she moreover observed that, although
Jacob fretted and fumed when any of the
"pluckers" were present, he rubbed his hands
and chuckled to himself when the brothers sat
alone. The three days passed, and Pronoville
came for the answer.
"Agreed," exclaimed Reuben and Pharaoh
"What about yourself?" asked Pronoville,
The White Women of Lundy
" I'll have notliing to do with it ; no, not
I," said Jacob. "Wben they do begin their
work I'll go back to Swansea."
" Work will begin next week," said Pronoville.
" Time means money."
He rubbed his hands and chuckled gleefully.
Like the spider luring the fly, the old sea-
rover loved to catch the unwary, and laid his
plots accordingly. He saw that the Welsh-
men had money to spend, and, if anybody
could get it out of them, he would. He wanted
partners with money badly just now. " Trade
had been dull," he told himself — not revealing
the fact to his new partners — and he wanted
more craft and crew. The Dutch were gradu-
ally becoming powei'ful rivals, and he feared
they would take his " Golden Bay " prizes
from ]iim ; and again, he wanted younger men
to fill his place in a trustworthy manner
when, work- weary, he might wish for rest and
temporary leisure. Not that he — the intrepid
sea-robber — ever intended retiring from busi-
ness, not he !
" The sea's my boniiie bride.
And whatever may betide,
I will never leave her side.
Never ! Never ! Ho ! ho ! ho ! "
New life and fire filled the Frenchman's heart,
'' With the Tide on Monday'' 233
and he went about ordering his men with the
air and importance of a monarch who has
augmented his army.
"It's a grand thing to be bold, fearless,
intrepid, daring, and — honouiable, isn't it,
Pharaoh?" asked the pirate, sturdily beating
'' That it is," responded Rueben.
''Ay, indeed," added Pharaoh.
But they did not see where tlie " honourable "
"We begin with the tide on Monday," said
Pronoville. "My plans are laid, and all will
be ready for action by Sunday evening.
That night in the Gannet Coombe, Mary
Marriner was sad and poor spirited. Her own
brothers, sous of her own mother, were going
to " bemean " themselves by " taking to "
a nefarious trade. It was more than she
cared to contemplate, and, before her brothers
retired for the night, she gave them "a piece
of her mind." Mary Marriner spoke warmly,
as one who bitterly disliked even the very
thought of it, and she concluded her attack
by declaring her intention of packing up her
" belongings," and quitting Lundy when Jacob
"When are you going?" she asked Jacob.
" In a week or two," he replied.
2 34 ^-^^ White Women of Lundy
'' Are you going to stay here so long as that !"
exclaimed Mary, almost screaming. " Will you
look on at such dreadful wickednesses ? "
Mary was in a perfect rage.
Seeing this, Jacob whispered a few words in
Welsh, which had the effect of instantly and
com|)letely subduing her.
With the tide on Monday, Pronoville, accom-
panied by his new partners Eeuben and Pharaoh,
commenced " business," and apparently with
great success. As trade increased, Pronoville
grew lazy, and in course of time he drank
heavier and oftener. Sometimes he would
remain for days carousing in his headquarters
with boon companions, while Reuben and
Pharaoh worked. Jacob returned to Swansea,
but Mary, after all, remained to look after her
Meanwhile, rumours floated among the
islanders that somebody had seen a ghost
flitting about the ruins of Maiisco Castle, and
strange rappings and noises were heard in
different parts of the island. As time passed
the spirit rappiiigs increased, and the ghost
had taken a partner.
Pronoville did not believe a word of it.
There always were strange noises in Lundy,
he said. It was "the noisest hole in the world,"
and, "as for ghosts," he did not believe in such
Stor^n at Sea 235
''old womanish inventions," they were not worth
Pronoville continued to drink heavier, and
the more he drank the worse his nerves ofrew.
" I'm getting sho.ky," he said to Eeuben one
September day, when, from the great sapphire
rollers, the Atlantic sent the foam flying over
the Templar Kock, and the storm- wind sent
the salt-spray fleeting like mist over wide wastes
of heather and countless hillocks of drift.
Confusion reigned supreme in Lundy.
The wind roared wildly in the Devil's Chimney;
the tide seethed and whirled around the Cheeses ;
the long and heavy swells broke in furious cata-
racts on the Shutter Eock, and rolled huge
boulders to and fro in the darkness of the
caverns under the Devil's Limekiln.
Against the inky black sky innumerable
white and grey winged sea-birds appeared in
bold relief, as tliey soared aloft, and with wild
notes and shrieks rejoiced in the storm, while
the din of wave- warfare reverberated amonof
the grim precipices that towered into the rain-
drifts and clouds above.
In the lonely recesses of that wild and wave-
washed island, fresh additions were already
being made to the numerous relics of wrecks
stored there, while the rain on land, and the
storm at sea, boded further calamity.
236 The White Women of Lundy
Captain Pronoville and his French crews
were holding revelry at the headquarters,
while the tide rolled " mountains hio'h " into
Kattles Bay, and the relentless rain lashed the
ruined towers of Marisco Castle. Although
Pronoville fouud Eeuben and Pharaoh and
their money useful, he did not trust them so
implicitly as his own dearly-loved Frenchmen,
and, on the other hand, his AYelsh allies shrank
from the "foreign" oroies of the notorious
Eeuben and Pharaoh returned to Gannet
Coombe, there to wait until the storm passed.
Mary Marriner catered for them in the generous
and hospitable manner known to country folk
in general, but to Welsh housewives in par-
The storm lingered, and on the third day it
increased almost to a hurricane.
One day during this period of storm, Prono-
ville experienced what he termed a "strange
feeling," but, in truth, it was a friglrt.
Early in the afternoon, during a pause of
the rain, the wily old sea rover crept up to
his grey and weather-beaten outlook, Marisco
Castle. There he remained until the gathering
twilio;ht warned him it was hio-h time to return
to Rattles Bay.
While lookino^ out to the wild wave-distance, he
He had Seen the Ghost !
heard the sound of a wailing voice calling slowly
in a long-drawn, husky tone — " Pro-no-ville."
Again it wailed, almost groaned, " Pro-no-
ville ! "
" It is my faucy," said Pronoville, " and
perhaps the wind helps it."
He knew all his men, in fact all the inhabi-
tants on the island called him captain. Not a
person would venture to address him only by
But he disliked the wailing voice, and,
putting his fingers in his ears, he swore loudly
and strongly about the weather in general and
the wind in particular.
Then he started to descend the stairs.
As he reached the top, which formed a sort
of landing, he saw emerging from one of the
rooms a glidino- fiorure eroino; o-hostlike into
an adjoining apartment.
Pronoville started back in terror. He had
seen the sfhost !
Bat he was not ooina to be ''humbuo-o-ed"
he said, so, taking courage, he followed the
figure, to find the room which he entered quite
Then he descended the stairs, and before
reaching the ancient portal, that voice, that
blood-curdling wailing voice, called, ''Pro-no-
ville ! " again, and yet again.
238 TJie White Women of L2cndy
Like one soul-driveu, Pronoville rushed
away. His fingers were in his ears, and,
as if to drown all recollection, he swore
For some reason best known to himself, he
turned to look back, and there, horror of horrors J
standing in the rained window of the room
which Pronoville thought to be empty, was the
There it stood waving its long shadowy
arms in the windy twilight, like a wraith of the
mist, or a hao; of the ni^'ht.
Pronoville fled in terror, and his men down
in Rattles Bay stared aghast to see their
"intrepid" captain rushing amongst them as
"if he had seen the ghost," they said.
Pale to the lips, scared and trembling from
head to foot, the pirate entered the quarters,
and none dared question him as to the cause
of his commotion.
The storm continued with almost unabated
fury, and Pronoville did not go to his outlook
for nearly a week.
When next he visited the citadel, he saw the
crhost, and heard the wailino; voice as before.
Worse still, the ghost glided after him, and he
ran wherever he could, as if for dear life, down
to Piattles Bay.
Three weeks passed, duiing which the wraith
The Castle of Mainsco 239
continued to persecute the sea-rover, and, in
due course, as the rumour had it, the o-host
appeared ^vith a partner.
Those — and they were few — who dared gaze
at the ghosts, likened one of them to a tall,
thin, and extremely shadowy person accompanied
by a short, spare, and smaller figure.
Both were women, and both wore their long
hair floating far down beyond their waists.
In due course the ohosts came to be called
the " White Women," and they held their own,
as though they had taken possession of the
solitary and sea-girt Castle of Marisco.
Through the dreary and moonlight nights
of grey and shivering October — through the
dense fogs and rain-drifts of November —
through the darkness and desolation of Decem-
ber, strange noises, mingled with unearthly
wailiugs, were heard, and the ghosts maintained
In time the islanders came to be afraid to
venture out once the brief daylight began to
wane, while the " bold, fearless, intrepid, daring,
— and honourable" Pronoville and his French
crew fairly " shook in their shoes " with terror
whenever they had to go to Marisco Castle,
which was both store and ammunition room, as
well as their ''look out."
Only the sea birds — the gulls, the shoveler
240 The White Women of Lundy
ducks, the snow-buntiBgs, and the "white-
fronted geese" — were fearless. The peregrine
falcon soared high and haughtily above the
ghostly tracks, and the snow-white gannets re-
mained loftily immovable and indifferent, as
though leagued against wraiths and the spirit-
world in general, and the " White Women " in
Still the ghosts continued their mysterious
Even when the whirling snow flung its pure
shroud over the lonely island, and the leaden
sky looked down upon the steel-blue sea, those
wraiths haunted the place.
Men grew fearful, women shuddered, and
children crept into the corners when the first
footfall of mysterious night — so like death —
Great grey waves thundered in Kattles Bay,
and men shivered in the morning. Dense white
mists crept through the desolate and lonely
coombes, and the women sighed and looked
scared in the twilight.
White foam-flakes were driven by the wind
far inland, and the children cried in the starless
and moonless nio^hts.
Luncly was like No-Man's Land, where ghosts
in passing greet one another on their way with
the melancholy cry, " Whither — ay — whither ? "
The Mumbles Man-d~lVar 241
When the winds of March had passed, and
April with her tears and smiles wandered along
the earth, a surprise came to the island.
" I told you so," exclaimed Eeuben.
" It's never her," said Pharaoh.
" What are you talkiog about ? " asked Prono-
" Enough, I should think," said Pharaoh.
'^ Don't you see in the offing the Mumbles man-
o'-war ? "
" My father means friendly," said Reuben.
Pronoville, persecuted by the ghosts, was in
" no mind " to be aoTeeable or to see strano-ers.
In came the Mumbles man-o'-war, with its
" three leatherin' guns and a handspik','' and
the master thereof landed.
He was warmly welcomed by his sons, who
were overjoyed to see him.
Pronoville's men " took to him " at once.
Even Pronoville got to like him in a day
Davy Prosser, one of the men of the Mumbles
man-o'-war, was told of the ghost.
"I do know more about it than our cap'n,"
said he, in a confidential tone to Pronoville
over their grog.
" Iss, indeed. Thirty years ago Admiral Nutt,
the great buccaneer, w^as Lord of Lundy. 'Twas
242 The White Women of Lu?idy
he did infest the Narrow Seas, and I was in one
of the Government ' whelps ' that was chasing
him. Old Nutt caught us, an' we, the crew
of the Little Sally, was kej^t on Lundy for
"What then ?" asked Prouoville.
" We did see what the island people did call
the 'White AVomen of Lundy.' 'Tis a bad sign
when they do come, so we did hear theu.
When the ' White Women ' do prowl about, it
do mean coming dangers — loss, ruin, sickness,
and sometimes — death ! "
The pirate shivered.
His luck seemed to have departed with the
coming of the " White Women."
All his courage had long since forsaken him.
He had grown strangely restless, moody, fearful,
and tremulous, and worse so because of the deep
draughts of ardent spirits quaffed to keep off
their disembodied contemporaries.
The Mumbles man-o'-war came as a boon
and a blessing to Pronoville. He would be
equal with those detested "White Women."
They should not any longer be forewarners of
danger, loss, ruin, sickness, and — he shuddered
to think of it — perhaps death ! Life became in-
supportable, and the old pirate's nerves were
In May he quitted Lundy for ever.
In Swa7isea Bay 243
He sailed with his partners, Reuben, Pharaoh,
their father, Davy Prosser, and Mary Marriner, in
the Mumbles man-o'-war, bound for Swansea.
Before reachiug Wales, Pronoville, seized by
" a strange brain fever," died, raving in his death
agony, ^' The White Women — the AVhite Women
— see, they're following us ! "
They buried him in the sapphire waves of
Swansea Bay, and his body went to be the prey
of those terrors of the sea to which he bad
committed so many unfortunate mortals.
Then, and not before, it was known in Lundy
and elsewhere that the " White Women " were
Reuben and Pharaoh Llewelyn, who for a heavy
bribe, willingly offered by merchants and other
sufferers by piracy, invented a ruse whereby to
rid the island of the renowned and intrepid but
wily Captain Pronoville.
His crew remained in Lundy, but their sway
was of short duration, for on the 3rd of June
1667, the collector of Barnstaple wrote to the
Board, "that some small Flushing privateers,
which lie skulking under the island of Lundy,
have taken six small barks coming from Ireland
laden with bullocks, sheep, wool, and tallow ; "
and a few days later, a report was sent to the
Admiralty by John Man, "that French priva-
teers, lying at Lundy Island . . . took a trow,
kept the master, and sent the men ashore at
244 ^^^^ White Women of Lttndy
BaxD staple to procure money for the redemption
of the vessel and lading, taking out of her a
hundred sheep and other provisions for them-
selves." A later report states that " three pri-
vateers at Lundy put terror into all the vessels ;
much shooting had been heard for three or four
On the 2ist of June very few of Pronoville's
men remained, for the officer in charge of the
district wrote to the Admiralty : " Lundy Island
is very slenderly guarded, four or five men from
a vessel riding on a cross wind crept over the
gates, and went to the peoj^le's houses before
they saw anybody. If the Dutch should take
the island it would block up the Severn, and
a dozen good men would secure it from the
The Mumbles man-o'- war's men lived to a
good old age, and they never grew weary in
telling the story of the " White Women of
^be Black Bri&e of Caerwen
HRICE bad snow fallen and melted on
Y Wydd-fa (Snowdon) — thrice had
Summer the sino^er wandered throuo;h
the woodlands of Carnarvon — thrice had autumn
dyed the leaves in the dark ravines, and the
fourth April, with tears and smiles, wended her
pensive way among the primroses of Wales, yet
Watkin Griffith of Caerwen had not returned.
In the hall of the ancient house, which once
was a monastery, Ehys G-riffith sat by the fire-
side, and waited and longed for Watkin, his
rollicking and only son, to come home.
Day after day the old man gazed wistfully
throuo^h the tall windows lookins: southward
across the meadows and moorlands, or wandered
restlessly through the house, as if strange voices
called him from afar. Day after day his foot-
steps wearily echoed along the oaken floor, as he
went to the spacious porch, there to look out
246 The Black Bride of Caerwen
with a loug sad smile to the court-jarcl, along
which his son with manful pride strode in the
summers gone bv.
There, on the pegs in the lofty hall, hung
Watkin's powder-flask and guD, together with
his hunting-crop and hat. There by the deep
bay window, where he loved to sit in the summer
eveniDgs, was his son's favourite chair, now
Looking out through that ancient window,
towards the lofty summit of Snowdon, and the
ravines and woodlands below, where the birds
were building their nests, and nature rejoiced
with the triumph of revival, a mist came before
the old man's eyes, and he turned away with a
sigh, and the murmur, '' When will he come ? "
Every night as the clock struck seven, the
Calvinistic minister of Salem — no matter what
the weather might be — entered the great gate-
way, crossed the court-yard, and took his seat in
the fireside of the settle. He is there to-night.
" And how are you ? " he asks in a cheery tone
of voice, at which the old man's heart expands,
as he answers, " The same as ever — waiting for
Then they gossip in the ruddy fire-glow, while
the April twilight deepens without, and the
early moonbeams stray in through the mullioned
Our Wat kin' 247
After a while Khys Griffith returns to the one
sad thought that haunts his mind.
"No news," he says wearily ; '' no news."
The minister of Salem, striking the ashes
out of his pipe, replies, "Just like youth; and
AVatkin's young blood is fiery, like his father's
At this the old man smiles, for he too had
wandered " over the hills and far away " in his
youth, and was ever restless and impatient at
Then taking a letter from his pocket, he reads
word by word some of the letters received from
Watkin, w-ho had sailed the Western Seas in
search of El Dorado.
Watkin and his party had sought it in the
crowded towns and cities of the United States —
in the huntinsf orounds of the Red Indians — in
the treasure regions of Peru — in the plains of
Mexico— in the canons of California — -but in
vain — in vain !
And now, lured away to the East, they seek
the charmed spot among the South African gold
Full of adventures are the young man s epistles.
Abroad, and free as the air he breathes, he
writes of days of danger in the far West — of
months among the Red Indians — of perils in
Peru— of the heat of the Mexican plains — the
248 The Black Bride of Caeriven
orancleur of the canons of California and Colorado,
and lastly of strauge experiences in Africa.
" Dear me, to be sure ! " exclaimed the ministei*
of Salem. " If we were young again, we'd like
to be with him. I daresay he's making money
out there in South Africa, and some day he'll
come home and settle down, and marry some-
That Somebody is spoken with a very large
" "Who's somebody ? " asks Rhys Griffith.
'' Don't you know % " asks the minister.
''There's no somebody for our Watkin, so long
as he roams the world like this," says the old
" But he's left somebody behind him," says
" And who may that be ? " asks the old man
" Eachel Lloyd of the Shop," replies the
" Rachel Lloyd of the Shop, indeed ! " says
the old man, re-filling his pipe, " I daresay he's
had more than one Rachel Lloyd by this time,
and they're all forgotten now."
Months pass. Every night at seven the
minister comes to Caerwen — every night at nine
he returns home.
A day comes, and with it a letter.
'' To think of It r' 249
At seven o'clock the miuister of Salem ascends
the uplands to Caerwen.
September moonbeams play around the old
house, and steal slowly into the woodlands, where
the red and yellow leaves flutter down through
the evening air, and the trees begin to lose their
The minister of Salem is greeted by the owner
of Caerwen, with " I've had news."
The old man leans forward in his chair.
'' Listeu," he says, and the minister obeys.
*' I skip some," says the old man, "and give
you a wonderful piece of news."
He reads out. " You will be glad to know
I've settled down at last "
"Very good. Well done, Watkin ! " inter-
rupts the minister.
'' Settled down at last," repeats Ehys Griffith,
" and have got married to a beautiful African."
The minister of Salem grows pale in the face.
He lifts his hands in horror.
"A beautiful African — African?" queries the
"There never was a good-looking, to say
nothing of a beautiful African," says the old
man. "As sure as I'm alive, I'm ashamed of
" To think of it ! " says the minister in shrilly
250 The Black Bride of Caerwen
" Ay, indeed to goodness, to think I should
live to see our AVatkin many a — black ! "
" And does he say anytkiug about coming
home ? " asks the minister.
" Iss indeed, worse luck, I could hide my head
under a bushel for shame," says Kliys Griffith.
" To think of our Watkin arming a black wife
here by Snowdon ! "
" What will the people say ? " asks the minister.
" He'll be the talk of the county ! " exclaims
the old man.
" Of the principality," adds the minister.
"Whoever heard of a Welshman, let alone a
Griffith of Caerwen, marrying a black-a-moor ! "
" She shan't live here," exclaims the old man,
growing fiery, and bringing down his right fist
with a ringing thud on the round table beside
"She shan't come to our chapel," says the
minister, who is willing to go out to the heathen
abroad, but unwilling to undertake the con-
version of the heathen that is expected at
" He'll not have a penny of me," says the
old man. " Every wife that has come to
Caerwen for these three hundred years has been
a credit to the house. There was our Watkin's
mother — where could you see a nicer woman
than she was — and my own old grandmother —
The Minister of Salem 251
who looked better than her, I should like to
"One can't always go by looks," says the
minister, thinking of his own better half, who
was old, crabbed, and ugly !
"But to think that our Watkin should go
and marry a — black!" continues the old man.
" Bah ! How could the boy go a-courtin' and —
kiss her 1" says tlie owner of Caerwen. "I was
always against the Sassenach (Saxon), but I'd
sooner see our Watkin marry an English woman
than come back with a — black ! "
"What has come over the boy?" queries the
minister. " He was always taught in our school
to look upon the blacks as heathens, an' if he
did but remember the Scriptures that do say,
'How do the heathen rage,' he'd have been
afraid of the black-a-moor's temper. Well,
'everybody's got their own liking,' as the old
woman said when she kissed her black pig. But
a black 'ooman — uofh ! "
"Don't you mention a word to anybody,"
says the old man in a whisper, " and I won't ;
and we will wait and see what we can see, as
the blind man says."
"/ won't say a word," says the minister,
as he bids his host " Ffarwel nawr" (good-bye
now), and goes home.
That night the minister of Salem fails to
252 The Black Bride of Caerwen
sleep. He tosses, and turns, and twists, much
to the annoyance of his crabbed partner. In
his dreams he sees " our Watkin " coming to
the chapel door with his fat, black, African wife
leaning upon his arm.
The minister of Salem believes the African
woman to be fat and forty, and — black as ebony.
Then he — a Christian minister — refuses to
allow the black woman to enter Salem. For
which an angel rebukes him, and they wrestle.
He awakes to hear his wife saying, '' It's the
first time you did ever rebuke me, Richard
Williams, and I ken tell you, you shan't do it
" I did think I was wrestling with an angel,"
says the minister of Salem. '' But, 'twas all— a
dream ! "
" Thank you kindly," says the irate Mrs.
Williams. '' You do strike me, and think you
was hitting an angel, 'stead of which 'twas me,
an' now you do say 'twas all — a dream ! And
pray, what may you have been wrestling with
an angel for?"
The minister of Salem remaius silent. To
tell his wife would be to break his word with
After breakfast the next morninof the owner
of Caerwen mounts his nag, and rides leisurely
into the beautiful town of Carnarvon.
The Tr^tth is Told 253
Through the soft haze of the lovely September
morning Snowdon looks almost gloomily grand,
purple mists girdling the peak, while below,
far below, the quaint old town of Carnarvon
is bathed in golden sunshine.
As Khys Griffith rides along this morning,
the ''everlasting hills," that generally have a
wonderful charm for him, are unrecognised.
The glorious views, the silvery waters of the
Seiont and the Menai Strait, are unnoticed —
even the wayside children observe that the
owner of Caerwen is unusually pre-occupied in
thought as he rides by with only just a nod and
not a word of greeting.
Into the town of Carnarvon he rides, with a
friendly nod to one and another, then he alights
at the door beariug the inscription '' L. J. Prit-
chard, Lawyer." He ties the horse's reius to
the garden railings, and slowly enters.
Llewellyn Pritchard warmly greets him.
The owner of Caerwen and the lawyer of
Carnarvon were schoolboys and playmates in the
The lawyer sees that something troubles his
old friend, but waits to hear the news. At
last the truth is told.
" An African ! " exclaims the lawyer. " An
African ! I can't believe it 1 "
" Read for yourself," says Rhys Griffith,
2 54 ^-^^^ Black Bride of Caerwen
The lawyer does so.
" What a mistake," he says, shaking his hoary
" Something must be done," says the aged
father in mournful tones.
''What can be done?" asks the lawyer,
reading the letter again. " Watkin says he was
married by the Wesleyan minister, and his
marriage is legal, and cannot be dissolved.
Perhaps she is a good woman after all. There
are Christianised tribes in Africa, and — who
knows — perhaps, she is a princess."
" Princess or no princess, she's an African,
and I can't abide the blacks with their rolling
eyes and big lips — Bah ! " exclaims the owner
"I am very much surprised — and deeply
sorry," said the lawyer deliberately.
''And now I mean to cross our Watkin's
name out of my will," says Phys Griffith.
" Caerwen is his by right of heirshij), but the
money I have made and saved I can do as I
"Do nothing rash, Pliys," says the lawyer.
" No, no, Llewellyn. Pve thought of it ever
since the letter did come, and I've made up
my mind to leave my money in another way.
By this time next week have a draft ready, and
I will come to hear you reading it."
Coming Home 255
Then Ehys Griffith gives the necessary direc-
The week passes, and once more the owner of
Caerwen goes to Carnarvon, and arranges his will
to his own likiog.
Caerwen, and all the goods and chattels
therein, are Watkin's by right, but the money
made and saved is divided between Rhys Grif-
fith's nearest relatives.
Months pass, and life goes on much the same
among the mountains of North Wales.
March in lusty vigour sends its wild winds
roaring around and under Snowdon, and they
whistle loudly through the woodlands beside
The minister of Salem is seated opposite
Rhys Griffith, who is saying, " Our Watkin is
coming home. He will reach England in April,
and will come here by the first of May. I
shall never be able to lift my head once she's
''Better for him to have left her in Africa.
He could have come over here for a few months,
and gone back, and nobody would have been a
bit the wiser," said the minister of Salem, "but
" The truth must out, and we might as well
let everybody know that she is a black," says
2 56 The Black Bride of Caerwen
" A black — princess shall we say % " asks tlie
*'No, no," says Rhys Griffith; "because per-
haps she isn't and oh ! dear me, to think
that our Watkin should marry a black ! "
The owner of Caerwen wept.
*' It'll bring my white hairs with sorrow to
the grave ! " he adds, drying his eyes.
And now the kindly and simple old men
picture to themselves the African wife that " our
Watkin " is brinm nof home.
Rhys Griffith in fancy sees a wild half-clothed
savage with a snowy turban on her head, and
a tiger skin for a robe, and rolling eyes, and big
The minister sees a short and fat African,
tricked up with European finery ; a Paisley
shawl resembling the one his wife wears on
Sunday — a black silk dress that "will stand of
itself," as the women say — a Tuscan bonnet
with purple ribbons — massive rings in the ears,
and a big jewelled one in her nose !
The news soon flies like wild-fire.
" Watkin Griffith is bringing home a black
wife," rings along the country for miles.
Who ever heard of such a thing ?
A Welshman married to a black !
" I'd have kept the black-a-moor in Africa,"
To-inoj'roiv / " 257
" Or have tried to whitewash her," remarks
"How can the Ethiopian change his skin ? "
murmurs the minister of Salem, with folded
''I can scarcely bear it," says Ehys Griffith,
restlessly pacing the great hall one day during
the last week of April
The blood in his veins now freezes, then
burijs. One moment an icy chill runs through
his body, then fierce internal fires rage in his
heart, and all the energy of his Celtic spirit re-
volts at the thought of " our Watkin's wretched
It is the last day of April.
Blossoms of pear and plum, of apple and
cherry, fill the beautiful orchards, and on the
garden walls of Caerwen the petals of the
peach-bloom glow like fairy fires.
In all the hollows and sheltered places the
primrose stars are shining, and the forget-me-
nots look like the blue eyes of fairies by the
The crimson \vA\t in the western distance,
burns like the camp-fire of the Sun, the wan-
derer — the nomad who will return to-morrow
and fill the day with splendour.
" To-morrow ! " exclaims the owner of Caer-
wen, with a shiver, as, after pacing the hall, he
258 The Black Bride of Caerwen
resumes his seat, and waits the coming of his
friend the minister.
'' To-morrow ! " sighs the minister of Salem,
as he comes through the leafy cloisters of the
*' To-morrow ! Iss indeed, to-morrow ! " says
the housekeeper of Caerwen, and the farm ser-
vants begin to grin, the girls giggle immo-
^' A black-a-moor is comiug to Caerwen," says
one of the saucy lads.
" 'Tis the end of the world is comin', I believe,"
The old men are smoking their long " church-
wardens," and now^ and again they talk of "our
" They must save for themselves," says Ehys
Griffith. "I've altered the w^ill. Our Watkin
shall have his own, but the money made and
saved by me shan't touch the fiugers of the
" All the neighbours are surprised," says the
minister of Salem.
" You'll see she'll come to Salem," says Rhys
Griffith. " I daresay she's converted. Our
Watkin would never marry a heathen — I should
" 'Tis a godless age," says the minister.
"Men and women would marry the Old Nick
himself for money and worldly gain, I
" Ay, ay," is the response.
The cuckoo clock strikes nine, and the mini-
ster rises to go home.
" You'll be here to-morrow," nervously says
Ehys Griffith. " I can't bear up alone."
" I'll be here," says his friend, sighing.
" About what time ? "
'' Eead for yourself," says the owner of Caer-
wen, handing a letter to the minister.
The words run thus : — " We shall post from
Carnarvon, and reach home about half-past seven
o'clock in the evenim^."
''Just after my usual time for coming," says
the minister, as with a heavy heart he says
" Ffarwel nawr."
" Ffarwel for the last time," he says, jogging
down hill. " I'll never go up there once the
black woman comes. He " — meaning Rhys
G-riffith — "must come to see me."
It is May-day.
Away in the distance Snowdon looks bold
and almost defiant, while sunshine and shadows
meet and mingle in the magnificent lowlands
Early in the morning the inmates of Caerwen
are astir. Preparations are being made for the
reception of the bridegroom and bride.
26o The Black Bride of Caerwen
Such a bride !
Heavy- voiced and sad, as one who has a
leaden sorrow in his heart, the owner of Caer-
wen gives directions for the reception of the
Now he paces the hall and the courtyard.
How slowly he walks ! The feet that would
have fleeted swiftly to meet the coming of " our
Watkin " move in a flagging w^ay, and the eyes,
instead of sparkling and beaming with joy at
the return of the wayward wanderer, are dull,
spiritless, and fixed on the road leading to
It is six o'clock, and Ebys Griflith goes in
to shiver and feel chill, or to burn with the
burning of a fever. His pipe is laid aside,
and, in his loneliness and sorrow, he strokes
the old house-dog that is stretched across the
A few tears trickle from his eyes.
They are tears of joy and sorrow. Joy
because "our Watkin" is coming home; sor-
row because of the calamity in the person of
a black bride.
In the remote district of Wales, the people
have a deeply-rooted antipathy to marriages
with the Eno-lish, not to mention "foreigners."
They like their sons and daughters to marry
their own country folk, and it is considered
They Co7?ze / " 261
lucky not to have to change the surname in
At seven o'clock the minister of Salem ar-
For nearly half an hour the two old men sigh
and groan, and conversation is conducted chiefly
" It is a thousand pities that our Watkin
ever went abroad," says Ehys Griffith.
" It is, indeed ! " responds the minister. " But
it can't be helped. ^ What God has put together
let no man put asunder.' "
He says this clasping his hands prayerfully.
"They come!" exclaims the housemaid, who
has been doing duty as sentinel.
Ehys Griffith seizes his stick and stands firmly
in the gathering shadows of the old hall.
The minister of Salem supports him.
" They're passing the church now," cries the
" They'll soon be here," says the housekeeper
from her position in the porch.
The clatter of horses' hoofs are heard in the
great courtyard. There is the sound of many
scampering feet, and the slamming of the car-
riage door, and '' our Watkin " enters the
'' My father — where's my father ? " he cries
eagerly, as he greets the old housekeeper.
262 The Black Bride of Caerwen
Kliys Griffith comes forward from the shadows
and clasps his son in a close embrace. The
miDister of Salem does the same.
But the bride — what of the black bride ?
The owner of Caerwen asks for her.
She comes, smiling and radiant, towards the
old man. She comes — the African comes and
places her small white hands in Khys Griffith's
broad palms, and then, child-like, she lifts her
face up for a kiss as naturally as if the old man
was in truth her own father.
'' I can't understand," says Ehys Griffith, like
one spell-bound, looking into the blue eyes of
the lovely little lady before him.
" Neither do I," says the minister of Salem.
" What is it ? " asks '' our AVatkin."
" I thought you married — you told me you
had married an African," says Rhys.
'' I thought the same," says the minister.
" So I have married an African," says Watkin.
'' Alice, my dearest, you are an African, are you
not — a real born African ? "
'' Oh, yes," she answers. " 1 was born at the
Cape. My father was born at the Cape too."
" And I made sure that our Watkin had
married an African woman, an " says Rhys.
" A black-a-moor," interrupts the minister un-
" A black wife ! " exclaims Watkin, burstinsf
Bride and Bridegroom 26
into laughter. " Oh, Alice, Alice, the fun of
it ! They have been expectiug to see a
black ! "
The bride and bridegroom laughed heartily.
And now, good but simple old men, in
shame they look at each other, and when the
first astonishment is over, they too laugh
All their fears are at an end. All the sorrow
is supplanted by joy. For, iu stead of a black
bride, a merry golden-haired and lovely new
mistress has come to Caerwen.
It is the third day of May.
Like a sunbeam, Alice the bride flits about
the house, to the delight of everybody.
Rhys Grifl&th rides in to Carnarvon to alter
the will, "without knowing to anybody but
the lawyer," as he says, and the new will
is made wholly in favour of the heir of
" Our Watkin " has made what is called a
good match. His wife is the daughter of
an English merchant, whose father was the
officer of an English re2:iment stationed at the
Years pass — Rhys Griffith is gathered to his
forefathers. Watkin and Alice are surrounded
by a troup of merry children, whose laughter
makes the old hall rins when their father
264 The Black Bride of Caei^wen
tells them the story of the black bride of
Not even the ruins of Caerwen now remain,
and the last of the race of Griffith died a
bachelor, and was buried in Carnarvon church-
Bounb for Xianbovcrp
NE cold aud rainy evening, in the
autumn of 1546, three travellers bound
for Llandovery lost their way, and
when night-fall came they approached a lonely
It was in a very desolate neighbourhood, and
appeared to be the only house for many miles
"What are we to do ? " asked one of the tra-
vellers, whose name was Roger.
''Beg shelter at this farm for the night," said
" Or walk on, and try to find our way to
Llandovery," said John.
"We can't do that," said Eoger. "See, the
night comes on apace, and it promises to be very
dark. There will be no moon either."
"Let us knock at yonder door," said Timothy,
who promptly suited the action to the word.
"We be three benighted travellers," said
2 66 Bound for Llandovery
Timothy to the good woman who answered the
knock, ''and we would fain have shelter and
rest for the nig^ht."
*' Can't have it here," said the dame snap-
" But we be three honest men, and not rogues,"
"And bound for Llandovery," added John.
" Then you'd best go to Llandovery," said the
irate dame, slamming the door in the strangers'
" What shall we do ? " asked Roger.
" We can't go on, and 'tis too dark to turn
back," remarked John.
" I see a way out of the difficulty," said
Timothy. ''Yonder is a cart- shed. Let us
take shelter there."
They did so, and found sufficient straw to
form a rough bed. But the men were both too
tired and too hungry to sleep, so they lay
In about an hour's time a lantern-light flitted
across the yard, and presently the men heard
three raps at the house door. From their
position and proximity to the house, the men
observed that the door was thrown wide open,
and who should enter but the village priest.
" Welcome, Sir priest," said the dame blandly,
and in silky tones.
What a Feast was There ! 267
" Welcome, my daughter," was the response.
Now it chanced that the kitchen window
was ouly partially curtained, and Timothy, ever
full of mischief, crept upon his tiptoes and
What a feast was there !
The table fairly groaned with tempting viands.
There were roast goose, partridges, a capon,
rich puddings, and dainties of all sorts. To
crown all, and in the midst of these good things,
there stood a huge flagon filled to the brim with
It was very exasperating to see a feast within,
Avhile those poor travellers sufi"ered from hunger
and cold without.
Timothy felt quite angry ; in fact, he had
'' half a mind " to rush in and make a raid upon
the o'ood thinsfs.
By-and-bye he observed that the dame of the
house and the priest repaired to another apart-
ment. Timothy told his companions that they
had gone into the " dining-room," because he
noticed the maid '' carried the food after them."
"It is enough to make a man mad," said
Roger, who was a noted eater.
" To think that theij may ' eat, drink, and be
merry,' " said John, " while we are left to die
— so far as she cares — is, to say the least,
268 Bound for Llandovery
Id about fifteen minutes after the feast went
into the apartment known as '^ the hall," rather
than the dining-room, the good man of the house
Before he could reach the door, Timothy
stepped forward, followed by his companions.
'' Good sir," said Timothy, " we be three tra-
vellers, and have lost our way to Llandovery,
kindly give us shelter for the night."
" Whom do ye go to see at Llandovery ? "
asked the farmer.
Timothy gave the name of their friend.
"I know him well," said the farmer. ''Come
in, come in, all three of you. I would not have
my friend and thine think I am ' short ' to any
The three men were most thankful, only
Timothy winked when he saw that all traces of
supper had been cleared from the kitchen. Still
more surprised was he, on entering the dining-
room or hall, to see the table cleared, and to find
that the priest had made his exit.
All had been secreted when the farmer's foot-
steps were heard.
" Come around the fire," said the farmer
kindly. " Thee'rt all cold, and I should say
The men confessed they were.
"Now, Betsy," said the farmer to his wife,
'^ A Trick or Two /^^ 269
"let's have the best of what there is in the
" I've only got bread and cheese," said Betsy
''Well, let's have that, and some civriv da,''
said the farmer.
The three men were only too glad to have
anything, and as their host was very generous
with the ale, they consumed a considerable
After supper the farmer begged the men to
draw around the fire.
The farmer then said he had seen some amus-
ing tricks played in the neighbouring village,
and that was the reason he came home so late.
'^I know a trick or two also," said Tiuiothy.
The farmer was '"' all alert."
"Let's have them," said he.
Timothy, in great solemnity, muttered " Abra-
cadabra'' thrice, and then said, "Shall I tell
thee what is in this house that thou know'st
" Ay, ay," said the farmer.
"Well," said Timothy, "there's a fine fat
goose in yonder cupboard."
He pointed to the cupboard on the right-
hand side of the fireplace.
" And what else ? " asked the farmer.
" Partridges," replied Timothy.
270 Bound for Llandovery
" What beside ? " asked the host.
" A ^WQ fat capon."
" Anything else ? " asked the farmer.
" Yes : rich puddings and dainties of all
Betsy could not stand this, so she made her
*' Now, thee must prove thy words," said the
" Eoger," said Timothy in a tone of authority,
'' get the goose out of yonder cupboard."
Roger did as he was bidden, and the other
dainties were produced in quick succession, after
which the company sat down and supped to their
While the host and his guests proceeded with
their supper, the goodwife of the house fretted
and fumed in the kitchen.
"What shall I do?" she whispered to Jane
" About what ? "
" The priest, girl — the priest ! "
" Bother the priest ! " exclaimed the maid
impatiently. " Why do you have him here at
all ? You know the master objects."
" Because he is a Protestant — that's all, and
I've been brought up in the faith of my fathers !"
" Well," said Jane, " and where is the priest ?"
'• In the cupboard on the left-hand side of the
A Cloud of Feathers 2 7 1
cliimneypiece, to be sure — where else could I
thrust him at a moment's notice like that ? "
said the mistress.
''Among all them feathers?" exclaimed the
maid. '' Why the poor man will be stifled, as
sure as I'm a livin' woman."
Jane worked upon the feelings of her mistress
to such an extent, that the good wife of the
house was in a fever of excitement.
" What if he should be stifled ? " she mur-
mured, and presently began to cry.
Meanwhile, the men in the hall were enjoying
Presently Timothy's mischief could no longer
be restrained. He began to wonder where the
priest could have been, as he thought, " stowed
away." Soon afterwards he fancied he heard a
movement in the cupboard beside which he sat.
'' Mine host," said Timothy, '' before retiring
for the night, I would fain put a poker in the
fire, and therewith warm a portion of my beer."
" Thee can'st put the poker and the shovel
in the fire, if it doth please thee," said the
farmer, who was astonished, almost dazed, at
Timothy's '' tricks."
When the poker was perfectly red-hot, Timothy
quietly took it out, and slightly opening the left-
hand cupboard, placed it therein. Immediately
the company saw a great blaze, a cloud of feathers,
272 Bound far Llandovery
and out of the midst of all, the priest rushed like
a madman, yelling with might and main.
The farmer hastened after the retreating^ fio-ure,
but the terror-stricken jjriest, half-suffocated, and
quaking with fear, ran out of the house as fast
as his legs could carry him.
Next day the three men proceeded on their
journey to Llandovery, and when they parted,
the farmer warmly thanked Timothy for his
Never again was the Church worthy seen in
the farm, and whenever the subject was men-
tioned, at home or abroad, Betsy always persisted
that the strauge and " wicked " travellers had
conjured up " the fiend," although her husband
believed it to be the village priest.
'^was In SSeaumaris Bai?
HE King's Head was a wayside hostelry
when George the Second was king.
William, commonly called Billy Prosser,
was master and owner thereof, and also of three
schooners and a barque that plied up and down
channel with passengers and merchandise. The
hostelry was known as the King's Head. It
was a queer quaint place, well known to His
Majesty's naval officers, for though Billy fre-
quently secretly dealt in contraband goods, he
had been a Jack Tar who had served his
monarch in many a battle. He had lost a
leg in the King's service, and was disabled for
future action. So he settled down at the
King's Head, and started a line of trading
ships, which proved of great service to Wales.
It was a week before Easter, the officers of
2 74 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay
the Stag sat smoking and drinking grog — Billy
knew so well how to mix grog !
Arnold St. John was not a heavy drinker,
and while sipping his grog he looked out.
Into the bay came a sloop. Presently all eyes
were fixed on her. Telescopes were quickly up-
lifted. In came the sloop rapidly, and was
soon riding at anchor in the bay. Later on
the captain of the sloop came to the King's
Head, and asked Prosser if he could accommo-
date two ladies and an old gentleman until the
storm ceased. The captain was a Liverpool
" They begged a passage up, an' I couldn't
" Certainly not," remarked Billy, drawing tlie
captain aside. " Have they got money ? "
" Plenty, my boy. He's a doctor — of laws,
mind you — from somewhere in the Gower land."
"All right, run 'em in, my boy."
The officers of the Stag were on the alert
for the visitors, who soon entered the best
parlour of the King's Head. Billy, after the
fashion of those days, explained who the visitors
were, and then quitted the room.
" Most pleased to have the honour of meeting
His Majesty's representatives," said courtly Dr.
Gibbon of Khossilly, " in the dim land of Gower."
He was a descendant of the old Norman Gibbons,
''It is a Wild Night " 275
who had married and intermarried with the
Welsh until they boasted of a long line of
Celtic ancestry. " Gentlemen," added Dr.
Gibbon, '^ allow me to introduce you to my
wife and daughter."
Very soon the officers were doing their utmost
to entertain the visitors.
The gloomy afternoon waned. " Whew ! "
whistled the wind around Beaumaris. " Hiss-
hiss ! " went the waters among the rocks of
that wild Welsh coast. Darker grew the
clouds and whiter gleamed the waves that
rolled mountains high.
" It is a wild night," remarked Dr. Gibbon,
when candles were brought in.
''Likely to continue wild, I fear," said Captain
Vasey of the Stag. " I trust the weather Avill
not inconvenience you, sir."
"Not in the least. We intended spending
Easter in Liverpool on our way to Scotland,
but having found better company, I shall gladly
remain here." So the party settled down, de-
termined that whether the storm passed or not,
Easter would be spent at Prosser's.
" Do you play ? " Arnold St. John was asking
Miss Gibbon; "will you have a game of chess
with me ? "
" With pleasure," said Miss Gibbon.
By this time Dr. Gibbon was deep in politics
276 ' Twas in Beattmaris Bay
with the commander of the Stag, leavmg one of
the officers to entertain his wife, and Lieutenant
St. John to amuse Miss Gibbon.
" III Beaumaris Bay," said St. John in a
low tone to his companion. Miss Gibbon's
eyehds drooped, and she blushed. ''Isn't it
strano-e ? " contiuued St. John.
"It is," demurely remarked Miss Gibbon.
" Do you remember our last meeting here % "
"Do I ! can you ask ? " replied Miss Gibbon
somewhat reproachfully. " But don't let my
father know that we ever met before."
"Oh no," said St. John. "But he kuows
you were here last summer ? "
"No; it was quite by accident that my
cousin's ship put in to Beaumaris, and were it
not for a threatening storm, I "
" You would not have been in Beaumaris Bay,
neither would I have known that you existed."
"Prosser does not recognise me," remarked
"That's a comfort," said St. John. "Do
you know I have often thought of coming-
down to Khossilly, especially when we have
passed your shores. You know why I wished
to come ; why "
" Hush !" murmured his companion, " you will
"But I told you that when promotion came
A mold St, John 277
all should be right for us. Now — well I mean
to tell him. At least I'll do so before we
" St. John ! "
" Ursula ! "
"Your playing is excellent," said St. John
with a smile, as Dr. Gibbon approached
"And yours is very clever," responded
Did they mean the game of chess, or the
game of playing at being strangers? Their
smiles were too pleasant to be caused by a
mere game of chess. Next day when they
were sitting at dinner (people dined at two
o'clock iu those days), St. John proposed taking
Miss Gibbon down to the shore for a walk.
The wind had not ceased, but there was a lull
in the rain storm. Tliough the waves were in
riotous confusion, a walk along the shore would
be invigorating, if not wholly pleasant. Dr.
Gibbon readily granted the request, but Mrs.
"It may be agreeable to a gentleman," she
said, "hardly so for a lady. But of course
you can please yourself, Ursula."
St. John noticed that a fiery light leaped
in Ursula's dark eyes, and her lips quivered, but
she remained sileut. When dinner was over
278 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay
she quietly turned to St. Joliii^ and said, '' I
will join you in a few minutes.
The lieutenant was amazed at her self-
possession, for he saw plainly that Mrs. Gibbon's
words conveyed a desire to thwart Ursula's
intentions. St. John's heart beat with rapture
when Ursula joined him, and they both walked
rapidly to the shore.
'' What a relief, what a pleasure ! " exclaimed
Ursula, as the wind blew keenly against her
face. Her eyes sparkled with dehght.
'' Mrs. Gibbon hates me to have one moment's
joy," she added.
" Why do you always speak of her as Mrs.
Gibbon?" asked St. John.
" Because she's not my mother. She's only
father's wife, and — and "
Ursula dropped her voice to a whisper,
which the winds would have conveyed away
had not St. John bowed his head so low,
that his lips almost touched the girl's beautiful
"I verily hate her," said Ursula.
So warmly did she express her dislike, that
St. John, smiling, said, "If you can hate so
well, tell me how strongly do you love \ "
By this time they had turned the cliff
point, and were quite out of sight of the King's
'' Can yoti Wait?''' 279
In a momeDt Ursula was clasped in St.
John's arms. " Darling, darling," he said,
''tell me you love me. Tell me that after
months of absence you haven't forgotten ? "
"St. John, dear St. John," said Ursula, ''I
love you. You know I do. I never, never
could forget you."
" Heaven be thanked, my darling," he said,
kissing her again and again.
"Presently they began to be aware that
twilight was creeping apace, and a. dense white
fog came quietly rolling up the bay.
" Never mind, dear," said St. John. " I
am with you. Besides which I must tell you
He took Ursula's arm under his, and com-
menced retracing their way to Prosser's.
"Ursula, dear," said St. John, "I am very
poor, and couldn't marry for quite a year
hence. Can you wait — will it weary you ? "
" No," replied Ursula bravely.
" Promotion will come in a year's time, and
then — then I can claim you," said St. John.
"Meanwhile, may I tell your father?"
"Oh yes," replied Ursula. "'But don't let
father know we have ever met before."
So it was arranged, and during the next day
Dr. Gibbon was consulted.
" I strongly object to my daughter marrying
2 8o ' Twas ill Beau77iaris Bay
anybody but a Welshman," said Dr. Gibbon.
'' We were originally Normans, but from the
Conquest downward the Gibbons have not
broken the record. And I much dislike — nay,
I oppose my daughter — she shall not go out of
the beaten track."
''I am of Welsh lineage too," said Arnold St.
" How so ? " queried Dr. Gibbon sharply.
"I am one of the St. John's of Bletsoe —
surely, sir, that is enough. Nearly all my
ancestors were Welsh to the backbone."
This put the young man's proposal in a
Dr. Gibbon then inquired into the young
man's prospects, and after duly considering
them, he said, " Come to me at the end of one
year from this date, and if you are then
both of the same mind, I will see wdiat can
be done. But do not live upon the least
shadow of a hope. Until then, Ursula must
Ursula and St. John were somewhat dis-
appointed, but, after all, they came to the
conclusion that Dr. Gibbon did so for the best.
" There is no need for a formal engagement,"
said Ursula on Easter Sunday, as St. John
walked with her from morning service in the
For Ever I'' 281
" I knew that," said St. John, " but "
" Surely you can trust me ? " said Ursula,
"My darling, T never could doubt you."
Later on, towards twilight on Easter Sunday,
they went down to the shore, and talked of the
''It won't seem long to me," said Ursula.
"Even though we shall not meet, I shall always
be thinking of you."
''Nothing shall ever come between us," said
St. John, " I— I swear it ! "
"And I will be true to my troth, yes, for
ever ! " said Ursula.
"For ever!" responded St. John.
" For ever ! " shrieked the wind.
''Ever!" muttered the echoes among the
distant caves fringing the lonely shore. The
tide breaking beyond the bay sighed sadly, and
the wave- wafted response of the Menai Strait
came brokenly from the dim sea-distance.
June revelled among the roses in the lovely
land of Gower. Midsummer mists hunof around
the sheep-walks, and broad belts of sunshine
fell across the Oxwich Salt Marshes.
On Worm's Head the sun's burning rays
282 'Twas in Beatimaris Bay
withered up the grass and embrowned the
pastures. Rhossilly's barometer, commonly
called the Devil's Blow - Hole, was silent.
June hushed the premonitor of storms, and
not even an ominous sound broke the silence.
Far away Carreg Cennin reared its head in the
golden sunshine, and Ehossilly lay bathed in
a flood of o^lorious lio^lit.
It was the last day for the Gibbons to
remain at The Grange. The old home was
in the hands of the money-lenders. Dr. Gibbon
sat down and wept. His tears rolled to the '
ground. The house held for centuries was
no longer his own. If Ursula married the
Welshman, who had gotten his gold in far-off
climes, all would be right. But the lieutenant,
the adventurer, as Dr. Gibbon called him,
who had promised to claim Ursula, was an
obstacle to all desires.
" He'll never turn up," said the doctor.
" It's more than two years since w^e saw him.
If he thought anything more about you he'd
have been here before this."
" I still have hopes," said Ursula.
"You are a perfect fool!" exclaimed Mrs.
Gibbon savagely. " Who but you would see
your aged father turned out of his home when
it is possible to save him ? "
"Marry Lloyd Pryce ! " exclaimed the doctor
In the Land of Gower 28
vehemently, adding somewhat proudly, " Any
girl would willingly consent to become Lady
Pryce. Marry Sir Lloyd — marry him and
Dr. Gibbon fairly sobbed.
" I cannot," sighed Ursula.
'' It will be the death of me to go heuce —
nay, it sliall be. Do as you please, giul —
marry Lloyd Pryce, or see a Gibbon buried
on the cross roads, with a stake run through
his corpse ! My life is naught to me ! "
> Her father's agony was more than Ursula
could endure. Where was St. John? — why,
oh why did he tarry ? Yet, if he came, could
he save her father \ Li the hour of sorrow
her heart failed her. Perhaps St. John had
forgotten her ; and if so — well, it mattered little
who became her husband. She went out
moaning into the sunshine. '' St. John — St.
John ! why don't you come ? " Slowly, as one
in a dream, Ursula mechanically wandered along
the sheep-walks tow^ards Worms' Head. " Oh,
my love, my love ! " she cried, " why don't
you come ? — why have you broken your troth ?
— what shall 1 do without you ? God give
me strength to drain this cup of gall ! "
" Miss Gibbon ! " exclaimed somebody behind
" Sir Lloyd ! " she responded.
284 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay
Sir Lloyd Pryce was by no means an un-
pleasant man. His manners were those of a
gentleman, and there was a sadness in his
tone that won Ursula's pity.
" I am sorry to see you thus," he said.
"You know what I told you a few days ago,
dear ? I am quite prepared to keep my part
of the compact. Promise to be my wife, and
I will rescue the old home from the money-
lenders. And I love you, child — oh, so dearly !
Heaven knows I speak truly, Ursula."
They were walking slowly along the sheep-walks
where the June sunbeams glared mercilessly down
upon the parched grass and sun-scorched ferns.
" One day more at Rhossilly," Ursula men-
tally uttered aloud. "My poor father — it will
break his heart I " But mentally she pursued,
" Oh ! St. John — St. John ! why do you tarry ? "
Then she sank down upon one of the ridges
and wept — wept bitterly.
Lloyd Pryce was deeply distressed.
He was by nature most gentle and refined,
and a woman's grief always sorely touched him.
"Ursula," he urged, "child, I can't endure
you to suffer. AVill you not trust yourself to
my keeping \ "
"My life, perhaps," she said, "but not my
love — never expect that."
''I do not ask it, but will try to win it —
Sii^ L loyd Pryce 285
try to merit it. Will you be my wife, Ursula ?
Tell me, dearest ! "
Then, choking one deep agonising sob, she
said, " To save my father, I will."
Lloyd Pryce gently drew her towards him,
and fain would have pressed his li23s to hers,
but she quietly thrust his arms from around
her and said, '' Don't — you mustn't."
'^ As you wish, dear," said Pryce. " But I
love you more than life, and I wall do my utmost
to make you happy."
Sir Lloyd Pryce knew nothing of Lieutenant
St. John. Dr. Gibbon had kept that episode
a profound secret.
So they walked homeward, Ursula wishing
that the sun's fierce glances would wither her
life, as it crushed out the existence of the
ferns and grasses around her.
At The Grange gateway they met the doctor
striding rapidly towards the village.
" Father ! " she cried, seizing his arm.
There was a fierce unnatural light gleaming
in his dark eyes as he angrily thrust her away
" Get away. You are no longer my child ! "
he exclaimed. " A truly dutiful and unselfish
daughter you are ! "
"Father!" she gasped, " Sir Lloyd will tell
you all. Spare mo — spare me."
286 'Twas in Beaumaris Bay
With that she darted indoors.
Sir Lloyd Pryce quickly informed Dr. Gibbon
of the change in Ursula's plans, and before the
day died, all arrangements were made for paying
off all the debts and retainino' the old home.
" I never can be sufficiently grateful to you,"
said Dr. Gibbon.
''It is for her sake/' said Sir Lloyd, '' I love
her as I love my life."
He spoke the truth. From the first moment
he met Ursula he was determined to try and
win her. His countrywoman's youth and beauty
had first attracted him, but her true worth he
preferred above all.
Sir Lloyd Pryce was a merchant prince and
slave-owner. Jamaica was his birth-place and
home, but having, as his uncle's successor,
become possessed of an additional fortune and
the family title, he was obliged to return and
settle, for a part of each year at least, upon
the ancestral estates which were in North
In a few weeks' time Ursula became Lady
Pryce, and the moment after writing her maiden
sio^nature for the last time she heard the bells
Ursula entered the carriage, put her fingers
in her ears, and crouched back.
How those bells mocked her !
Urstila tJie BiHde 287
Every tone struck out the death knell of her
" Untrue to your troth ! " they seemed to
*' False, fickle, fair, false ! " they seemed to
"Oh those bells — those cruel bells!" sobbed
" For ever — for ever ! " moaned the bells.
Clatter, clatter went the hoofs of the horses
along the sun-parched highway, every hoof-
beat causing Ursula's head to ache as though
it were pierced with the sharp spikes of a
Crowds of villao'ers and visitors, even stranorers
who chanced to have business in the neis^hbour-
hood, thronged the roadway leading to The
Grange. Ursula shuddered as the carriage
slackened its speed.
"Let the peoj)le see you," said Sir Lloyd.
" They are longing to get a smile."
Ursula looked out. What did she see ?
A vast crowd surs^ino; around the carriag;e.
Yes, and a stalwart horseman standinsf beside
his horse, which was reined up by the village
Who could it be ?
She had seen the face before. If only he
would remove his slouched hat !
288 'Twas in Beattmaris Bay
Takinof a red rose from his coat, the horse-
man strode to the carriag^e, and tossed the
flower lightly into Ursula's lap. This action
remained unobserved by Sir Lloyd, who was
giving directions to the postillions.
Ursula shuddered. She dared not look up.
The horseman came to the carriage window,
doffed his hat, and respectfully offered his
congratulations to the bride.
"Too late," he whispered in a hoarse tone,
reproachfully adding, ''you might have waited!"
" Find out all," gasped Ursula. " Don't judge
The horseman vanished. Later on he "found
out all," and immediately quitted the village.
"St. John— St. Johu," sighed Ursula. "Oh,
my love ! my love ! You were true to me, after
Sir Lloyd and Lady Pryce were staying at
The Grange. Frequently since their marriage
Sir Lloyd had gone away and left his wife to
herself for many weeks. On one occasion he
remained three months away, and once he went
to Jamaica, staying there for more than three
months. Ursula had no objection to his absences,
but during the last two years of her life she
In the Firelight 289
had tried to solve tlie reason of bis flights.
Still she failed, utterly failed in her object,
and still her husband remained kind, loving,
and gentle to her. * Sir Lloyd was very quiet
and grave, the most suitable companion that
could be found for Dr. Gibbon. His utterance
was generally subdued, and his conversation
full of thought, yet his friends and his wife
owned to something about him which they
could not quite like — a something which in
an inexplicable way repelled them. He was
passionately fond of music. Ursula had a rich
thrilling voice, and often in the twilight Sir
Lloyd would have his wife sing to him, her
voice seeming to rise and fall like wind sighing
among snow-encumbered trees. It possessed a
poignant sweetness, and she sang the songs
in which his heart delighted with exquisite
expression. Those were happy hours to Sir
Lloyd — ^they were too precious, he said, because
they made the hours when he was away from
her too s^reat a contrast.
" Oh, Ursula, come here," he said one Decem-
She had been singing to him in the twilight.
It was intensely cold, and the fi.relight shed a
witching glamour around Ursula Pryce's face
and figure. Slowly, but steadily, the snow-
flakes were falling on the frozen earth, and
290 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay
ominous clouds fleeted across tlie waniiig crimson
'' Ursula, dearest," said Sir Lloyd, looking
lovingly at his young wife, who was gazing at
the sea that always cruelly seemed to mock her
" Yes," she replied calmly, not coldly.
*' Ursula dearest," he continued, going to her,
and clasping her in his arms.
" What is it ? " she asked.
" I shall be obliged to go away to-morrow
dear, and "
" To-morrow % " she said.
There was a slight sound of fretful disappoint-
ment in her tone. Could it be jDossible, thought
Sir Lloyd, that her feelings were changing, that
his wife began to cherish, or ever so faintly to
welcome, his love ?
''At last I at last!" he uttered passionately,
as he kissed her uplifted face.
Ursula was amazed.
"Darling — darling," said her husband. "It
seems so strange to hear you express regret at
my leaving. I have hungered for your love
so long — so long. It seems so hard to have
to go to-morrow — now that I have attained you.
Ursula, I have won heaven, and you arc its
only angel for me. My precious wife, how I
The "• Dofuin ica'' 291
Ursula was surprised at her husband's out-
burst of feeling. Her manner mellowed to him,
for though she had no love for him, his love
of her was surely w^orthy respect. She knew he
loved her deeply. Laying her hand gently on his
arm she said, "Can't you defer going now?"
" Darling — darling, I wish to heaven I could,
but I cannot. Business has to be accomplished.
Ah, God ! why can't it be deferred ! "
Sir Lloyd clasped his wife closely in his
arms and kissed her again and aojain. Then
calmly he said, " My own precious wife, there are
important matters to settle. I will return as
soon as possible, but probably not before March."
" Going so suddenly," mused Ursula. Then
she remembered that her husband always went
away at a moment's notice.
" Never mind, dear. If I can possibly return
before March I will," said Sir Lloyd.
In half-an-hour he was ready for the journey.
He would go to Swansea and there em-
bark on board his own ship, the Dominica, for
"As we sail down channel," said Sir Lloyd,
" I will keep a good look-out for you. If the
weather permits, go to the top of Worms'
Head and wave a white kerchief — will you,
" I will," she said.
292 ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay
"And I will wave mine in return," said Sir
Lloyd. " Now, sweetheart, adieu, adieu ! "
In deeply passionate tones he once more told
her of his love, clasped her in a close embrace,
and kissed her red lips again and again. He
looked at her with hungry love, kissed her hand
lightly, and departed.
As he walked out through the doorw^ay he
muttered, " Ah God ! why can't it be deferred ? —
cursed fate that wrests me from her now, now
of all times 1 "
Ursula and the servants distinctly heard his
'' He loves me deeply," said Ursula. " I
must be a good wife to him, for the sake of his
On the afternoon of her husband's departure
it ceased snowing. Two days' subsequent frost
had hardened the snow's surface, so that it was
possible to walk with comfort.
Ursula started for a walk.
" Where are you going ? " asked the doctor.
''To AVorms' Head," she replied. "Lloyd
and I are o-oins: to sio^nal to each other."
" Oh, oh, I merely asked," said the doctor,
delighted to find that, after all, the marriage
had brouo^ht love.
Had it ? Ursula could best answer that
Rho s silly s Barometer 293
Lady Pryce hurriedly wended her way along
the sheep-walks, and soon gained a secluded and
sheltered spot on Worms' Head. For six weeks,
and ever since Ler arrival from North Wales,
she had sought that nook almost daily at all
hours. Sometimes it was night when she came,
and only the glittering stars knew of her
''Why did she come? Why— why ? " asked
the waves as they laughed down on the shore.
"Why — why?" screamed the sea-gulls as
they sought their nests in the clefts of the
Dark clouds fleeted across the sky and pro-
mised more snow. The wind whistled and
howled ominously through the caves along the
shore, and Rhossilly's barometer roared.
Ursula drew her red-hooded cloak closely
around her skirts and shivered. She stamped
her feet to keep them warm.
Presently she was joined by a stalwart man —
the horseman of her wedding day, the admiral
of all her dreams.
'' So he's gone again," said he. " Ursula, are
you prepared for strange news ? "
" Have you found out ? "
'' And who is it — what's the — the other wife's
— the Jamaica wife's name ? "
2 94 ^ Twas in Beatimaris Bay
For Ursula had come to the belief that her
husband had another wife out in Jamaica.
"Ah," said St. John, "you — both of us have
judged him harshly. There isn't another wife
at the bottom of it, after all. I discovered it
most oddly. Think of it — I have been more
than a year trying to ferret out his secret,
and now only obtained it by sheer accident.
Have you ever asked why he goes away from
" Do you mean to tell me that he has never
hinted why ? "
" Well, Sir Lloyd Pryce is liable to temporary
but terrible fits of insanity. When they ap-
proach he places himself under restraint. They
occur about twice a year. He is quite sensitive
of their approach, and prefers giving himself
up to his doctors than alarm his friends. Dur-
ing his father's lifetime in Jamaica a private
keeper used to attend him. Since his father's
and uncle's death. Sir Lloyd has adopted a new
" My husband a madman ? " said Ursula, in
an incredulous tone.
"Yes. Would you know where he is now ? "
" Until I do — until I see him mad, I will not
believe," said Ursula.
A Bridegroom s Madness 295
'' You must leave all arrangements in my
bands, or your father will be suspicious," said
St. John. '^A letter shall come asking you to
join your husband in London. I will meet you
at Swansea and accompany you to town. I
shall still keep up my disguise. AVhen can you
go ? Next week ? "
'' Not next week. That's too quick. What of
the second week hence ? "
" Very good," said St. John.
" There ! " exclaimed Ursula — '' There — there's
the Dominica, I'm sure. See, he's waving his
kerchief, St. John ; please wave mine in return.
I have no strength to do it."
St. John did as he was bidden.
''All the same," he said, ''I don't believe it's
"Nonsense, it is," said Ursula. ''Now go —
St. John, go — or I shall get mad too."
" Meet me here to-morrow," he said.
" I will."
Ursula's heart throbbed wildly as she returned
to The Grange. If her husband were really mad
could she live with him any longer ? Never !
And yet — there, she must not indulge in a wild
reverie. She was as firmly manacled by the
bonds of wedlock as any living woman. Death
alone could set her free. One afternoon, later
on, Ursula went as^ain to Worms' Head, there
296 'Twas in Beaumaris Bay
once more to meet St. John. This time she
allowed him to clasp her in his arms, to kiss
her once for the old love's sake. Just one dear
delirious afternoon, after long years of pain, of
heartache, of sorrow. St. John might have
tempted her to forsake her husband, but he did
not. He w\as too chivalrous for that. Yet,
when she sought his help to find out the cause
of her husband's absences, he willingly assisted.
His love for her had never waned ; hers for him
had increased through the years. Yet never
was there a more noble, honourable affection
than that which existed between Ursula and
"Many men w^ould ask you to forsake Sir
Lloyd," said St. John, " but I could not. Such
a sin would be monstrous. Darling — my lost
love — yon are Sir Lloyd's vrife. Nothing but
death must divide you both."
Then they parted.
"Good-bye, my love," said St. John, as he
watched Ursula going down the ridges. " May
Heaven protect her through the dreary and —
perhaps dangerous future. It is well she should
know, lest, in a sudden seizure, he might be
tempted to harm her. Dr. Grifiith was right.
She ought to know the truth for her own
Ursula, after descending from Worms' Head
What Horror was before Her? 297
by the sheep-walks of old, paused where the
road led to the village. " It's only four o'clock
now," she said, looking at her watcb. "A walk
will do me good. I shall only be an hour later."
The risiuo^ breeze was life-o^ivingf, and it brousfht
fresh vio^our to the woman who breasted it.
Ursula walked on.
Not that she had jDleasure in doing so, but
because she was urged by a terrible unrest that
would no longer let her remain in one jDlace for
any length of time.
Her husband a " madman ! "
It seemed too terrible, but was there any
truth in it ? Perhaps it was only a ruse on St.
John's part to get her away from her husband.
Yet, so far, she never had reason to doubt St.
John. At all events, she must be on her cruard.
Suddenly a wild piercing cry, like that of an
animal run to earth, only much more terrible,
sent a horror through her blood and made her
recoil. As she did so something darted at her,
and a man's fingers gripped her throat.
'^ Let me go," she gasped, seizing the man's
hands with a grijD of iron.
"Never again !" yelled the man, whose arms
she had seized.
What horror was before her !
Distorted as the face looked, she knew it to be
298 'Twas in Beaumaris Bay
She knew it was him, even though the
new moonlight was pale, and the passion-filled
face was only partially distinct in the weird
His face appeared terribly changed. The
eyes seemed to protrude unnaturally from their
sockets, and had in them a frenzy and terror
pitiful to behold.
Ursula felt she must assert her self-control.
Madmen's frenzies had been assuaged by strategy.
" Lloyd," she cried, '' speak to me. Tell me
why I see you thus ? "
Sir Lloyd released his hold upon her throat.
^^ I am your wife," she said gently, sooth-
For answer, he seized her in his arms, kissed
her passionately, and fled.
She followed him swiftly, tearing her gar-
ments among the brambles as she crossed the
Through the weird light she ran breathlessly,
though her husband was soon far ahead of her.
A few seconds later and she lost sight of him.
He had escaped her. Where was he hiding
Then she became afraid, and dreaded the snow-
filled hollows on that lonely heath, lest her
husband might once more wait for her among
the brambles, only to spring upon her again,
'' It's all over with Him " 299
and perhaps murder her ! She paused to take
breath, and to consider what had better be done
under the circumstances.
Suddenly the click of a pistol rang through
the air, and before she could reach the hollow
where her husband had disappeared, three men
stood beside him as he lay prone on the snow.
'' It's seldom he has such a bout as this,"
said one of the men, when Ursula came to the
spot where they stood ; '' and he's never run off
'' What is the matter ? " asked Ursula.
''This gentleman (he's quiet now) met us in
Swansea, then escaped. He's been wandering
for a couple of days. We've found him here
at last, having tracked him all the way from
A gentleman rode up.
'' I see you've found him," he said to the
" Yes, sir ; but he's quiet now. It's all over
''All over!" exclaimed Ursula. "What do
you mean \ "
" That— that "
" Speak out, man. Is the fit over ? " asked
the gentleman. "Madam," he added, address-
ing Ursula, " this unfortunate baronet escaped
my care. He is subject to fits of temporary
oo ' Twas in Beaumaris Bay
insanity. This attack has been sharper than
usual. Indeed, I fear it is not yet over, though
the men assure me it is. This poor gentleman
ought to live a life free from any excitement,
either pleasant or otherwise."
'' He is married," said Ursula, in a dazed
" Married ! " echoed the doctor.
" He is my husband," added Ursula. '' Did
he never tell you of his marriage ? "
*' No ; it's the first time I've had him under
my care," said the doctor. " I merely took
charge of him for Dr. Griffitli, who has attended
him for years, but just now my friend is some-
what seriously indisposed."
" It's all up with him, sir," said the men.
The doctor went to tlie baronet, who still lay
prostrate on the snow.
" He's shot himself," they said.
" My good madam," said the doctor. " All
his wanderinof fits have come to an end. Sir
Lloyd Pryce is dead — he has died by his own
hand ! "
The click of the pistol that Ursula had heard
a few minutes previously proclaimed her hus-
*'God be thanked that he has not injured
anybody else," said the doctor. " And to think
A Tragic Ending 301
he was married too — might have shot you, dear
Ursula crept to her husband's side aud kissed
his forehead, while her tears fell keavily and fast
upon the frozen snow. When least expected,
death had divided them, and in the early days
of her widowhood, Ursula felt deeply grieved
that her handsome husband's history was so sad,
and had such a tragic ending.
In a year and three months after Sir Lloyd
Pryce's death, St. John and Ursula renewed the
troth they had plighted in Beaumaris Bay.
Zhc Scarlet IRibbon
-SH ! " muttered Ditty Morgan, rock-
ing herself before the fire.
" Why ? " asked the slumberous girl
sitting^ on the settle.
" ' Teir nos ysprydion,' " murmured Ditty
under her breath.
" ' One of the three spirit nights,' " echoed
" Tick ! — tick ! — tick ! " went the eight-day
clock, while every lattice rattled, and snow fell
so heavily, that it promised to be deep for the
New Year's Eve service.
"Why are you listening'?" asked Winnie,
starting. " It is only the gwynt traed y meirw !"
(wind blowing over the feet of the corpses).
" Pw — no!" said Ditty solemnly, as she
leaned her elbows on her knees, and buried her
withered face between her hands.
'' What is it then, boba ? " (grandmother) asked
' * Nothing comes of It'' 303
" anwyl ! anwyl ! " added Ditty, moaning
and looking into the fire. " 'Twas the cyhyraeth.
Didn't you hear it comiii' with the wind ? "
"No," responded Winnie.
" Whew ! whew ! " whistled the wind, respond-
ing to the roaring waves among the desolate
cliffs and crags of Glamorganshire.
" There 'tis agen," sighed Ditty, '' the cyhy-
raeth moanin' up an' down the road. W^e shall
have sickness in the place, or some trouble."
" Boba ! " exclaimed Winnie.
" Fy mlentyn, fy mlentyn bach ! " (my child,
my little child) replied Ditty, " I do never feel
afeared of the Almighty's warnin' ? Something
will surely happen before loog."
" You always tell us something will happen,"
remarked Winnie, " but nothing comes of it."
" Nothin' ! what about years ago 'fore you was
born \ "
" What happened then \ "
" Well, I was comin' home from chapel with
your mother, an' I did see with my own eyes
an angel going in front of us. ' Leave it pass,'
ses I to your mother. ' What pass ? ' ses she.
' The angel,' ses I."
'* Did mother see it ? "
" I b'lieve so, only she wouldn't own to it."
" And then ? "
" As I was tellin' you, the angel went in front
304 The Scarlet Ribbon
of us an crossed the bridge. She had beautiful
shinin' wings, an was carryin' a babe in her arms.
' Look,' ses I to your mother, and 'fore we
could turn, the angel went up an opened our
window, an the next minit she did come out by
the front door."
" What of that ? " asked Wimne.
" Well, the angel didn't come out alone."
" Who came with her ? "
" She was leadin' a young ooman out — 'twas
your own mother, an' 'fore the week's end, you
was born, an she was dead."
Winnie, shivering, crept closer to the fire.
It was a relief to her to hear a distant voice sing-
ing one of the sougs that used to be sung while
ploughing with oxen in Wales.
"It's Llewellyn," said Ditty.
" Llewellyn, indeed !" exclaimed Winnie. " I'd
know Llewellyn's voice a mile off," and tripplDg
lightly to the door she saDg a milking song.
" Well done, Winifred — well done !" shouted
Ishmael Williams, the bard, as he paused to shake
the snowflakes from his coat. " Where's your
father ? "
" Gone to chapel."
" Are you going too ? " asked Ishmael.
"Yes," said Ditty, and presently the trio were
trudging through deeply drifting snow to the
service held on New Year's Eve, to watch the
The Cyhyraeth 305
coming of another year. What a service !
Simple yet grand, a service of song and thanks-
oivino[ in the cold loneliness of nio;ht and wintei*.
in desolate, snow-bound Wales.
" H — sh ! " cried Dittv, as her orand-dauo^hter
led her up to her own home, where refreshments
would be ready for everybody.
"Why?" asked AVinnie.
" The cyhyraeth — the cyhyraeth ! " cried Ditty.
Winnie paused and listened. The wind
whistled throus^h leafless trees ; wild waves
roared, and the river rushed dark, almost black,
between its margins of snow.
As a voice from the dead — a hollow sepul-
chral voice, came Ditty's half sobbing tones in
broken accents — '' The cyhyraeth moanin' on the
shore do mean more corpses ; on land, fever or
trouble— trouble to a many of ns. H — sh ! there
'tis agen 1 "
" Whew ! wh — eh ! " whistled the relentless
" Dewi (David) Jones, perhaps you'll favour
us with a song," said Isaac Morgan, the sexton,
rapping the table with his unstrung bow.
" Ton my word, I did never try a song but
two times in my life," was the reply.
" When did you try % " asked the rector,
seizing his flute.
3o6 The Scmdet Ribbon
" Wlieu Ned my brother was married, and
when Job my cousin did come home from sea.
No : I keiit sing," said Dewi, mopping his face
with a red kerchief, and looking sheepishly
towards the table whereon Winnie placed glasses
of metheglin and bowls of flummery for her
father's guests. Observing Dewi's glance, Winnie
offered him refreshment.
" Dewi bach," said Ishmael Williams, known
among bards as ''Eos Morganwg" (Nightingale
of Grlam organ), " why, man alive, don't eat
flummery before you sing."
"More you do fill me the better 1 ken sing,"
said Dewd, encouraged by Winnie's glances.
" Nobody can sing with a throatful," said
" Come you," said Ditty, " don't you mind
'em. After a long ride, a drop o' meth will warm
you a bit," so she poured out a glassful, and
Dewi drank it at a draught.
"That's uncommon good," said he, mopping
" Now then, now then," clamoured the in-
" What is it to be ? " asked the sexton.
'' Well, to be shure— an' if I must sing I must.
Now, what d'ye say to Merch Megan ? "
" Dewi," exclaimed Ishmael Williams ; " do
you want us to lose our hearing ? "
Songs and Hymns 307
" I ken sing that better nor no thin'," persisted
" But the song is not the right pitch for your
voice," remarked the rector.
" Well, I ken sing it high — high up or low
down, down in a whisper if you do like," said
*' You've a marvellously convenient voice,"
said Ishmael, "but, Dewi, my boy, if you sing
that, you'll "
'•' Show how anshient you be sometimes in
tellin' of people who kent sing, an never a word
'bout them as ken sing."
What did they know of his singing ! Then
to the accompaniment of the sexton's fiddle, the
parson's flute, and the bard's harp, Dewi began.
Leaning forward in his seat, he clasped the table
with a clutch that seemed immovable. Loudly
and powerfully he sang — his roar rattled the
windows, and shook the rafters.
That this song should be followed by a hymn
was by no means an unusual event, for Welsh
gaiety is never unbridled, its gravity is seldom
"Will you give out a hymn?" asked the
rector, addressing a dissenting farmer.
" If you will be good enough to join in, I will
give out a hymn, an' help as far as I can," said
the farmer, standiug up and leaning his hands
3o8 The Scarlet Ribbon
on the back of a neighbour's chair. '' Next
paage to the Kiver, common mater (metre),"
said he, for the benefit of those who possessed
hymn-books. Then he recited the whole hymn,
and repeated the first verse a second time.
Lustily the thirty or more persons present
sang the popular hymn, while the farmer swayed
his body to and fro "like a sea-lion," as the
sexton remarked. The hymn was re-demanded,
then followed songs and sweet peimillious with-
''Winifred," said the rector, "come here. It
is your turn now."
Winnie was missing.
Not a few seconds previously she was among
the girls, clustering around the three-legged
" Winifred !" shouted Ishmael Williams, open-
ing the kitchen door.
" Winifred ! " cried the women from the
"Winnie — Winnie Morgan!" shouted the
girls, going out into the snowy roadway.
One of the girls lingering after the others
beyond the gate uttered a cry of surprise.
" What is the matter — what is it ? " asked
" The scarlet ribbon ! "
How they fluttered around it.
Is it You f " 309
To whom did it belono^?
There was no time for sfuessinor. Voices and
revelry echoed through the midnight air, and
presently the girls rushed into the house to
escape the Mari Llwyd and its revellers.
No further heed w^as taken of Winnie's
absence by the guests that night, only the
rector going homeward through the churchyard
fancied he saw her flitting down the riverside.
Turning his lantern light across her path, he
said, *' Winifred Morgan, is it you? You here
at this time of night, and alone ? "
Quick as lightning the girl, without replying,
darted past, leaving him to wonder if it could
be Winifred at all. '* It must be," he said,
*' and yet " there was a rustling sound be-
side him, as half in fear, half in bewilderment,
the rector hastened home, for the small hours
of the morning were advancing, and as yet high-
waymen and footpads had not ceased in the
Away, down through the churchyard, and
into the lane w^ent Winifred Morgan, never
pausing a moment, but running breathlessly
towards the hills. At every turn along the
frozen ground treacherous snowdrifts impeded
her movements, still she ran and soon reached
a riverside hollow. Threading her way through
3 1 o The Scarlet Ribbon
a snowy thicket she entered a solitary cavern,
where, in flickering torchlight, a crowd of people
stood listening to a speaker who was just con-
cluding his speech. His striking resemblance
to Winifred could not fail to be noticed — the
dark eyes and hair, the quick and active manner
touched with hauteur, inherited from one of the
princely tribes of Wales — revealed the kinship
existing between Llewellyn Gwyn and Winifred
" We are poor," exclaimed Llewellyn, "over-
worked, badly paid, our lives are altogether
wretched ; we have no representation, and are
oppressed by privilege and the aristocracy.
Who looks after us ? So far as the State is
concerned we are not looked after at all, but
live neglected, despised, and crushed. The
rights of man are denied us, the rights of labour
are thwarted ; we are bowed down with sorrow,
but are we o:oinof to continue thus ? Are we
going to remain voiceless slaves ? — a race of
miserable creatures, afraid to enforce the rights
of labour, or to demand the People's Charter ?
Why do the aristocracy and the ofiicials oppose
us ? Why, lads ? Because our Charter will give
us better food and wages, lighter work and
liberty! Listen, lads — you that can't read
English, but can speak and understand a good
deal — here are the six points of the People's
The People s Charter 3 1 1
Charter. Manhood suffrage, vote by ballot,
annual parliaments, abolition of the property
qualification, payment of members, and the divi-
sion of the country into equal electoral districts.
We want a share of the law-making power ; we
want the middle and working classes represented ;
w^e want the People s Charter made law ; and, my
lads, we mean to have it. Come, my countrymen,
be prompt in action, be determined, and we shall
soon see the day when this mighty Charter will
be part of our constitutional system ! Lads,
come up without delay, and sign the People's
Charter ! "
Loud applause followed the speech, and in
less than ten minutes thirty \Yelshmen had
enrolled their names or marks to the People's
Winnie eagerly listened and waited for the
speaker to cease, then, stepping a pace forward,
she whispered " Silence ! "
In a moment the crowd became a mute group
of downcast faces, over which slouching hats cast
grim shadows. A moment later, extinguished
torches smouldered on the ground, among snow-
encumbered boughs and tangled brushwood that
vainly struggled to surmount the deepening
With sono^ and merriment the Twelfth Nio^ht
revellers and roysterers wended their way down
3 1 2 The Scarlet Ribbon
liil], under the snow-crowned crag^s and beetlinor
rocks fringing the riverside, and, as they passed,
one of the cavern-hiders said, '^ It's only the
Until the Mari Llwyd party were well out
of siHit and hearino:, . the cavern crowd re-
mained silent, and were about to relight their
torches, when Winnie said, " Idris, and sons of
my countrymen and friends j^r^sent — beware !
Dewi Jones is in my father's house — he means
no good. Go home while there is safety; I'll
take care of the messages."
If the Chartists had dared, clieers would have
echoed and re-echoed for Winnie, but silence and
mystery attended these nocturnal meetings, and
only a subdued murmur of emotional applause
greeted the girl.
In the dark starless nig^ht the Chartists dis-
persed, and Winnie returned home to find the
house unexpectedly quiet, and its door locked
"This is Dewi's work," she muttered, "but
I'm not afraid of him.''
She rapped loudly, and soon obtained admission.
"Winifred!" angrily exclaimed her father,
" where have you been ?"
" Answer ! " he thundered.
Still she remained silent.
The Angered Sexton 3 1 3
" This isn't the first time you've bin an'
gODe," continued her father. " To-night every-
body was wonder in' where you w^as. Winifred,
if you don't tell me where you've bin, and w4iat
youVe bin doin' till this time 0' mornin', I'll —
I'll be the death of you ! "
Winnie remained speechless.
" Won't you tell me T shouted the angered
sexton, dragging her to the settle.
He threw a brand on the smoulderimr fire,
poked it, and a lurid flame leaped upward,
lighting the room with its garish glow.
" Winifred," he said, looking steadily into her
face, which was ujDlifted and pallid, " if you
don't tell me what your night tricks an' the
like be — if thou wilt not confess wdiat do take
thee out o' nights uncommon often of late, I'll —
there, I'll " The sexton was too exasperated
to conclude that sentence, and Winifred remained
unflinching while her father resumed speaking.
'' It's for no good whatever, an if it had pleased
the Lord to spare your poor mother to me, you'd
no more be out of a night at all hours
There, I'll tell Parson Llewellyn of thee. If
there's one thing I kent abide, it's a ooman
given to night tricks, for its a sbure sign they
be goin' to the pit as fast as Satan ken take 'em.
Now^ then, maid, what 'ave you got to say for
314 The Scarlet Ribbon
'^ Nothing," replied Winnie. '^ I have done
no harm, and can come to no danger."
" No danger,' hissed a husky voice from the
Even her father looked surprised, for he ima-
gined and hoped that Dewi Jones was asleep.
Fire-flames leaped and flung long shafts of light
across dark shadows beside the settle. In that
light stood Dewi Jones, who, in sinister tones,
" No danger in having dealings with Chartists,
eh ? "
" None whatever," said Winnie, confronting
"No danger meetin' Chartists, in carryin'
messages to and fro between hot-headed dema-
gogues like Llewellyn Gwyn and his crew ! "
Isaac Morgan stepped a pace backward, still
clasping Winnie's shoulder with a firm grip,
under which the girl winced. He looked into
her faced and asked, " Is he speaking truth ?
Art thou a friend of Chartists ? Dost thou
dabble thy fingers in that black puddle of
iniquity ? "
'^ The scarlet ribbon ! " exclaimed Dewi. " See
— she wears it ! "
With a fierce gesture her father tore it from
" The Lion of Freedom " 315
'' She made a banner for them," continued
Dewi ; " an' what's more, there's a song of hers
sung by the Chartists."
"A sonsf of Winnie's ? " asked the sexton.
" Iss ; ' The Lion of Freedom,' " replied Dewi.
'' These are the very words —
' The Lion of Freedom is come from his den,
We'll rally around him again and again ;
We'll crown him with laurel our champion to be —
O'Connor the patriot for sweet liberty ! ' "
Dewi Jones paused.
^' Go on," said Winnie. " There are three
more verses. You're a capital reciter."
'' So thou art a Chartist ! " murmured Isaac
Morgan, in sad, subdued tones. ''A dealer in
devilry, riot, an' godless doin's. Gell, hast thou
too renounced thy God to keep covenant with
demons? Go, — to me thou art my daughter
no longer, but Winifred Ddu now and for ever-
more ! "
Dewi Jones watched her between the light
and shadows as a lion watches prey.
" I have not renounced my God," said Wini-
fred Morgan. "All Chartists are not unbe-
lievers ; Llewellyn is not, neither am I."
It was twilight. Ditty crooned by the fire-
3i6 The Scarlet Ribbo7i
side : '' I did know trouble was comin' to many
of us. The cyliyraetli do never moan for
nothin' ; but O anwyl, anwyl, tliat I should
liave lived to see this day, au' Winnie a
Chartist ! "
" Times is bad, an them Chartists do make
a sight of damage an' havoc 'mong honest people
who ought to be livin quiet at home, instid of
jauntiu' 'bout the country," remarked Dewi
Jones. '' But don't you bother about Winnie —
she's right anuff."
Winnie, singing a milking song, passed to the
'' Come here, AVinnie," shouted Dewi, and soon
from the dairy Winnie came.
" Sit down here on the settle by me," said
Dewi. "I do want to have a lid die talk with
"What is it?" she asked.
" Where's Llewellyn Gwyn ? "
" I don't know," replied Winnie.
" Don't know wdiere your lover is," said
"My lover! My cousin, you mean," said
" Iss, your lover. I do know all 'bout it.
You did take a sig^ht of trouble to throw me
over for him."
" Throw you over ! Dewi Jones, I never
Dewi Jones 31?
knew you to come a-courtiu' me I " exclaimed
" Never kuew ! Pw — , Winifred Morgan .
You did know all along that I was for you, an'
that your father' d never go agin the match."
Winifred laughed outright as Dewi continued :
" If you didn't understand me, t wasn't my
fault. Well now, Winnie, listen. There's the
liddle farm at Gellygaer, an' properties down
'bout Aberavon, an' my mother's house to come
after her in Llantrissant, an' then I was thinkin'
we could go and live up in the hills. I got a tidy
an respectable general shop with the butcher's
business up in Dinas, an' — pw — , gell ! you don't
know half what I've got ready for you. It's
only for you to say the word, an' we'll be one."
Ditty only half heard what was going on,
and still sat crooning in the corner.
" Now or never ! " said Dewi.
" I'm a Chartist," replied Winnie.
" Never mind," said Dewi ; " you wont be a
Chartist when you're Mrs. Dewi Jones. Listen,
He drew forth from his prodigious pocket an
equally prodigious bag, and shook it before her.
How the money jingled, rang, and danced in
that wonderful bag !
" Let's have more light on the subject," said
Dewi, and Ditty stirred the fire.
3i8 The Scarlet Ribbon
*' Here ! " exclaimed Dewi, liftiDg the round
oaken table nearer the glow. " Come here,
Winnie, an' count the money. There's three
hundred pounds in hard cash, an' more at home
in the till ; an' — wait 3'ou a bit — I've a couple
of notes or so 'bout me. Look here."
Dewi drew forth a roll of papers from an
inner coat pocket, and placed them among the
golden sovereigns that were lieaped upon the
Winnie glanced down, peered at the notes —
just a glance, no more ; before Dewi could stay
her, she snatched one of the papers and threw
it into the fire.
" There ! " she exclaimed ; " that's my answer
to your love-making ! "
"Are you mad?" asked Dewi. "It's fine
work to take valuable papers an' throw them
in the fire. Never mind, Winnie ; you an' I'll
be married yet. When you're Mrs. Jones,
you'll learn to respect them bits 0' paper an'
For a moment he paused and fumbled with
other papers in his pocket, while Winnie stood
speechless and triumphant before him. Dewi
proceeded to examine the contents of all his
pockets. " There's the lease, an' there's the will,
an' there's the mortgage deed — but shure anutf
I've left it upstairs. 'Tis a mistake to make
The Warrant 319
love ill the middle of business. Wait a minute,
Winnie, an' I'll go an' look for it."
He darted away, and returned sayiog, " It
must be here, for 'tisn't upstairs. P'rhaps 'tis
with the notes. Fuming and fretting he re-
examined the papers, and suddenly looking up,
shouted, almost raved, *' What 'ave you been
an done ? — you've ruined me for life —
you've — "
" What is it ? what is it ? " asked Isaac
Morgan, coming from his workshop, and quaking
" The warrant — she's been an' destroyed the
warrant," shouted Dewi.
" What warrant ? " asked the sexton.
"The warrant for the arrest of Llewellyn
Gwyn," said Dewi.
" Llewellyn Gwyn — what has he done % "
" Treason," hissed Dewi.
Winifred Moro^an lauo^hed.
" H — sh ! " said Isaac Morgan angrily. " You
may laugh if you like, but 'tis no laughing
work. D'ye know what you've bin an done ?
The law will have a hold on you "
"As soon as Dewi tells — Oh, I am ready for
that," said AVinnie merrily.
" You kent be my flesh an' blood," said Isaac
Morgan tartly, as Winnie, turning to Dewi,
remarked, "You're helpless now."
The Scarlet Ribbon
He began to rave at her.
"H — sh!" she said, "don't expose your loss.
Take it quietly, beau up like a mau, and all will
come right in the end."
"Wait till morninV' said Dewi, "we'll see
For in truth the man was too bewildered to
know what to think, or tell the girl who had
Sijow covered the Welsh mountains, and filled
all sheltered nooks from deep dingles fringing
the Severn Sea, to ravines penetrating the fast-
nesses bordering upon Breconshire. All the dim
land was snow-bound, and the coaches failed
to run. The earth was one vast waste of
untarnished snow, hiding hedges and even
thickets with its hard-frozen foldings. Frozen
so hard was it that in most places, horses and
foot-passengers could travel with tolerable ease
and security, but all vehicular traffic had ceased.
People complained about the weather just as
they would if it had been a wet winter, or an
unusually mild one. Snow was tiresome, but
then, so would rains and floods have been, and
a milder winter would have reaped a harvest of
ingratitude, for which even swallows coming
earlier could not atone.
It was a winter of unusual severity and
Chartism 3 2 1
distress ; grumbliDg and discontent had set
their cruel fangs upon the class described by
the French as ProUtaire, and there seemed to
be no antidote for the poisonous virus, which,
going down deeper and deeper, threatened to seize
hearts, and thwart their better feelings.
Fierce, fitful flames of Chartism leaped and
throbbed among the populace, gaining fresh
vigour here and there, penetrating remote parts of
Wales, bringing votaries from nearly every town,
village, and hamlet in the principality. Men
of education, ability, and eloquence, impassioned
poets and bards, quickly gained hearers, and
were surrounded by throngs of earnest and
devout fanatics, all enthusiasm, yet thoroughly
sincere. Feargus O'Connor, the renow^ned and
once dreaded leader of Chartism, hatched plans
and concocted schemes which were amplified or
simplified as occasion or locality demanded,
while leaders and sub-leaders led little groups
of Chartists from out-of-the-way villages and
towns ; and later on, when agitation had assumed
a more active form, the schemes which began with
Birmins^ham demonstrations and Leicester meet-
ings ended in Newport riots. Even now, though
the influence of Chartism has passed away, and
people are enjoying three gained points of the
People's Charter, many are living to tell of
thrills that ran throuo^h their hearts when
32 2 The Scarlet Ribbon
Chartist secret meetings had not developed into
riots ; long before Frost, Jones, and Williams
paid penalty to the law, which afterwards gave
them their vote by ballot, manhood suffrage, and
the abolition of the property qualification.
Llewellyn Gwyn was shepherd of a little
Western Wales fold of Chartists, members liviiio:
between Cardiff and Swansea, not higher among
the mountains than Diuas, nor nearer Mon-
mouthshire than Caerphilly. He had been
scouriug the villages for many weeks, steadily
gaining converts, while, wherever he went,
people soon flocked around him. He could
sway them with his eloquence, his strong
biblical quotations smote their souls, causing
hearers to sigh, sob, and weep, as though their
hearts were broken. In his speech people
discovered omens of doom, and could hear the
rattle of eternal chains. Suddenly his mood
would change. Freedom from shackles, pardon,
prosperity, and heaven were offered, lifting
listeners to heights of happiness until they
would break forth into feelings of joy, gratitude,
and unutterable emotion.
Just six weeks after Dewi Jones entered the
lists of Cupid, he made up his mind to " turn
Chartist," for he declared " 'Prhaps Winnie will
come to in a bit, an if I was a Chartist 'tis like
Llewellyn Gwyn 323
anufF my three himdrecl pound will weigh 'gainst
Llewellyn in the end."
Isaac Moro-an could not formve Winnie, thouo-h
he suppressed his feelings for the sake of '' peace
in the house," ''but/' he added, "I do fear bad
will come of it, an if so, it must rest on their
" H— sh ! " murmured Ditty under her breath.
''The cyhyraeth- "
" Whew 1 wh — ew ! " w^histled the wind.
"Moanin' on the shore it do mean corpses —
on land fever, trouble — trouble to many of us.
H — sh ! there 'tis agen ! "
Llewellyn Gwyn and Ishmael Williams entered
"You here, Dewi ! " said Ishmael. "Why,
old man, people won't know you when you go
" What about the business up at Dinas ? "
" Leave off chaffin' me, both of you. If you
did know what did bring me down here in such
weathers you'd respect me."
" Dewi," exclaimed Llewellyn, " you came
here to arrest me ; can I ever respect you
" Not if I was to sign my name to that there
j paper I did show you last night ? "
"' • - Oh, oh ! " said Ishmael Williams, " if this is
324 The Scarlet Ribbon
the way you are going on, the quicker I get away
the better." Calling Llewellyn aside, he added,
" You had better 0^0 in for hidins^ now for the
good of your country. Spies are abroad."
"At present about five miles off. There is
no time to be lost. Make your way to Llantris-
saut, and I'll follow."
'' Disguise yourself," suggested Dewi, *' or
you'll be overtaken."
" Eio^ht ! " exclaimed Ishmael. " Winnie to
It was but a moment's work to find apparel.
"They'll think it's me," said Winnie, " only
just lower your voice."
" Don't talk of lowerin' his voice," said Dewi ;
" you ken talk loud anuff when you do say ' No '
to a respectable man's offer of marriage."
Fully equipped for his night journey Llewellyn
Gwyn came out from the little parlour.
"Well, to be shure, what a diff' ranee," ex-
claimed Isaac Morgan.
" How like Winnie ! " said Ishmael.
" Good anto me well, if I was to meet you
sudden round a corner I'd believe you was
Winnie herself," said Dewi. "Winifred Morgan,
my anwyl ! "
" Winnie," said Llewellyn, " take care of your-
self. I'll return when all is safe ; they won't
Trouble to a Many of Us'' 325
remain here long — perhaps only pass, and not
even search here."
"Don't be rash," replied Winnie, uplifting a
Llewellyn was accompanied through and for a
short distance beyond the town by Isaac Morgan,
Ishmael Williams, and Dewi Jones, w^ho said,
"We'll go just for to make 'em b'lieve 'tis
They had been gone but ten minutes when a
secret messenger came, saying, " Tell Llewellyn
they're come, an' will be down here in a twink-
" He's gone — he's safe," said Winnie, who
bolted and barred the door against intruders.
"Before Llewellen can reach Llantrissant he'll
be caught," sighed Winnie, sitting down to
think how she could best help her cousin and
lover. There was little time for escape, yet if
she could only plan a ruse to thwart their move-
ments for one brief clay !
" H — sh ! " moaned Ditty, "the cyhyraeth —
there 'tis agen. On land it do mean trouble —
trouble to a many of us ? "
And the wintry wind whistled, blowing
over the feet of the corpses in the churchyard,
where the sorrows of generations w^ere re-
corded on grey melancholy stones and crowded
tablets fixed against the outer walls of the quaint
326 The Scarlet Ribbon
and lonely church beside the snow-swollen river,
flowing dark, deep, and swiftly between its
margins of snow.
"Llewellyn Gwyn is taken I " was the cry,
and all who had flocked to his fold were saddened
and distressed. He was overtaken a mile or so
beyond the town, and arrested for having fre-
quently held illegal meetings, inciting persons to
discontent and dissatisfaction with the Govern-
ment, and charged with conspiracy and dis-
obedience to all law and order. The scarlet
ribbon was in his buttonhole, and upon his
person several treasonable documents were
found. For a night he was detained in the old
town, whence he started for Llantrissant, and
next morning the constable and his companions
took him to Cardifl". Proceeding along the high
road, with its picturesque surroundings, the con-
stable and party, with the prisoner, passed
through the quaint villages of Bonvilstone and
St. Nicholas, and on to the lofty hill known as
the Tumble, overlooking a vale almost unequalled
for beauty in Glamorgan. Southward the Severn
Sea glittered and gleamed in the morning sun-
shine ; eastward Cardiff looked grey and cold ; to
the north Llantrissant, cradled among its hills,
nestled, as it were, under a coverlet of snow,
while far away and beyond it, range after range
" Stick to your Charter '^ 327
of snowy mountains loomed gloomily grand from
among leaden clouds that promised more snow.
These men coming up from the west — fearing
Llewellyn Gwyn's presence in Cardiff would
rouse people — took all necessary precautions
during his transit, yet on reaching the river
Taff he was recognised by a great crowd.
'^ lilewellyn Gwyn ! " shouted the people.
" Speak to us."
"I dare not," he cried, "seeing that my
speech is watched."
The sound of his voice, though he spoke
quietly, caused a wild wave of enthusiasm to
pass over the multitude, and affairs began to
look somewhat menacing.
" Be careful," whispered the constable.
"You need not warn me," replied Llewellyn.
"All I can safely tell you is this: Welshmen
and women, whatever you do, stick to your
Charter ! "
Deafening cheers and applause greeted Lle-
wellyns words, and followed him as he pro-
ceeded to prison.
Cardiff magistrates were inclined to be very
lenient. So far, they saw little harm in the
"hot-headed demagogue." Perhaps he had
spoken unwisely, but there was only a frail
charge against him. Still investigation was
necessary, and Llewellyn remanded, had to
3^8 The Scarlet Ribbon
return to prison for a week — yet longer. Three
weeks elapsed, and during that period the case
assumed a formidable aspect. Several charges
were brought against him, and eventually the
prisoner was committed for trial at the next
assizes. He was asked if he desired to make
any statement previous to his return to prison,
and, if so, to be careful.
For a moment there was profound silence in
court. Everybody expected a speech. Instead
of which, Llewellyn stood up, and fixing his
eyes upon the presiding magistrate, said, '' I am
not guilty of the charges brought against me.
Further, you are committing the "
Dewi Jones' voice, from the far end of the
court, shouted, ^^ Wrong person ! "
What a scene in court ! People gazed and
rubbed their eyes — even the constable who
made the arrest looked dazed. The magistrates
were puzzled. What could it all mean ? Dewi
Jones was called forward.
'' Do you know this man ? " asked the magis-
trates. ''If he is not Llewellyn Gywn, who
'' An deed shure," replied Dewi, after being
sworn as a witness, '' you may as well ask, for
my own eyes deceived me ; an' to tell you the
truth plump an' plain, 'tis Winnie, Winifred
Morgan, fy'ngariad anwyl ? "
Winifred Morgan 329
Winnie's gravity broke down, the gravity of
the court was upset, while Dewi added, " If
your honours ken keep her in prison a spell till
she do come to, an' promise to be Mrs. Jones,
I'd thenk you kindly, but if you kent make it
convenient I "
" Well done, old man," shouted somebody.
'' Silence in the court ! " bawled the clerk.
"If this is true," said the presiding magis-
trate, who feared a plot in the case, "we cannot
release the person until further proof of identity
" Good anto me well ; to think they won't
b'lieve my word on oath that 'tis Winnie," said
"Man alive,''' said Ishmael Williams, "they
don't know you!'
" Is that it ? An' I could 'ave taken my oath
that everybody from Din as to Swansea did
know Dewi Jones of the Shop. An' I be a
constable too ! "
"H— sh!" said IshmaeL "Don't mention
that fact. It would take the gilt off the ginger-
There was very little time lost in identifying
Winnie. Ishmael Williams, Isaac Morgan, and
a host of others came forward to testify that
the prisoner was not Llewellyn Gwyn.
Winnie retired, and soon reappeared dressed
330 The Scarlet Ribbon
in her own garments, but still wearing the
'' Are you a Chartist % " asked the magistrate,
glancing at the ribbon.
"I am," replied Winnie, "but I do not
make speeches," whereupon the people who
imagined her to be Llewellyn Gwyn, cheered
lustily, remembering her speech on entering
" David Jones, stand forward," continued the
Dewi obeyed. He doffed his hat, and as Ish-
mael Williams remarked, '' revealed the anshient
anshientness of his noble brow."
'' If you wish to win this girl for your wife,
you can do no better than turn Chartist," said
the magistrate, laughing; ''but I'm afraid you'll
find many rivals."
" Theuk you kindly, sur, but now Llewellyn is
gone, I've got hopes she'll come to. I ken bide
a bit an' see how the tide'll turn."
" How did you manage it ? " asked Ishmael
Williams, as he accompanied Winnie home.
" By putting on Llewellyn's clothes and going
down the road. I knew they would take me —
we are so much alike."
" I do see how you ken keep a secret an' no
Nos dydd Gal an 3 3 1
mistake," said Dewi. " 'Tis plain anuff you was
born to be Mrs. Dewi Jones."
" Perhaps the cyhyraeth prophesied the death
and burial of quaint old Welsh customs ; legends
are becoming hoary, angels have not been seen
in the land since Ditty saw one, and here we are
loyal Chartists, welcoming Her Majesty's Jubi-
lee," said Ishmael Williams.
"We'll keep Nos dydd Galan (New Year's
Eve) at home this year," said Llewellyn Gwyn.
'^And make-believe we are down in dear old
Wales again," adds Winifred Gwyn.
The prosperous London merchant and his
wife, surrounded by numerous children and
grandchildren, are welcoming their Welsh friend
and guest in old Welsh fashion. Though Dewi
Jones is gone over to the majority — though the
sexton's fiddle and the parson's flute have long
been laid aside, the bard's harp is tuoeful as
ever, but as Eos Morganwg declares, " We are
beo-iunino: to feel the anshient anshientness that
comes with silvery hair and failing powers."
Zbc %CQcni> of IRbitta tbc ©iant
(Translated from the Welsh by the late Taliesin Williams^
son of loJo Morganiog.)
HERE were two kiugs formerly in
BritaiD, named Nymiiaw and Pei-
biaw. As these two ranged the
fields one starlight night, ' See/ said Nynniaw,
' what a beautiful and extensive field I
possess ! '
" ' Where is it ? ' said Peibiaw.
" ' The whole firmament/ said Nynniaw, ' far
as vision can extend/
" ' And dost thou see/ said Peibiaw, ' what
countless herds and flocks of cattle and sheep
I have depasturing thy field ? '
" ' Where are they?' said Nynniaw.
"'Why the whole host of stars which thou
seest/ said Peibiaw, 'and each of golden efful-
gence ; with the moon for their shepherdess to
superintend their wanderings.'
The Pastures of the Heavens 333
" ' They shall not graze in my pasture/ said
'' ' They shall,' said Peibiaw.
" ' They shall not' said one.
" ' They shall,' said the other repeatedly,
in banded contradiction, until at last it arose
to wild contention between them, and from
contention it came to furious war, until the
armies and subjects of both were nearly annihi-
lated in the desolation.
'' Rhitta the Giant, King of Wales, hearing of
the carnage committed by these two maniac
kings, determined on hostility against them ;
and, having previously consulted the laws and
his people, he arose and marched against them,
because they had, as stated, followed the courses
of depopulation and devastation, under the
suggestions of phrenzy. He vanquished them,
and then cut off their beards. But, when the
other sovereigns included in the twenty-eight
kinofs of the island of Britain heard these
things, they combined all their legions to re-
veno;e the desfradation committed on the two
disbearded kino;s, and made a fierce onset on
Ehitta the Giant and his forces. And furiously
bold was the engagement. But Rhitta the
Giant won the day.
" ' This is my extensive field,' said he. And
he then immediately disbearded the other kings.
334 The Lege7id of Rhitta the Giant
" When the kings of the surrounding countries
heard of the disgrace inflicted on all these dis-
bearded kings, they armed themselves against
Ehitta the Giant and his men, and tremendous
was the conflict. But Rhitta the Giant achieved
a most decisive victory, and then exclaimed,
'This is my immense field.' And at once
the kings were disbearded by him and his
" Then, pointing to the irrational monarchs,
'These,' said he, 'are the animals that grazed
in my field ; but I have driven them out —
they shall not longer depasture there.' After
that he took up all the beards, and made out
of them a mantle for himself, that extended
from head to heel, and Ehitta was twice as
large as any other person ever seen."
In a note to this legend the late Taliesin
Williams says: — "It is a feature strongly in
favour of the antiquity of Welsh literature,
that most of the prominent characters found
in old English and French romances and
ballads are borrowed from it. Even the seats
of Government, under the British princes,
previous to the Saxon dominion, such as Carlisle,
Caerlleon, &c., are selected as scenes of action.
King Arthur, Queen Guenever (Gwenhwyfar),
Sir Kay (Caihir), Glaskerion (Glas-Geraint), or
Ki7tg Ryence 335
Ceraint fardd Glas, or Gadair (Ceraint the Blue
Bard of the Chair), Mordred (Medrod), and many
others, figure in frequent recurrence in these
The Legend of Rhitta Gawr appears in Percy's
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, under the
title of '' King Eyence's Challenge." It was sung
before Queen Elizabeth, at the grand entertain-
ment at Kenil worth Castle in 1575. In a letter
describing these festivities, it is thus men-
tioned : — " A minstrell came forth with a sollem
song, warranted for story out of K. Arthur's
Acts, whereof I gatt a copy, and it is this : — ' So
it fell out on a Pentecost,' &c. After the song
the narrative proceeds :—" At this the minstrell
made a pause, and a curtezy for Primus Passus.
More of the song is thear, but I gatt it not."
The story in Morte Arthur, whence it is
taken, runs as follows : — '' Came a messenger
hastily from King Ryence, of North Wales,
saying, that King Ryence had discomfited and
overcome eleven kings, and everiche of them
did him homage, and that was this : — they
gave him their beards cleane flayne off. Where-
fore the messenger came for King Arthur's
beard ; for King Ryence had purfeled a mantell
with kings beards, and there lacked for one a
place of the mantell, wherefore he sent for his
beard, or else he would enter into his lands, and
7^;^6 The Legend of RJiitta the Giant
brenn and sLay, and never leave till he have thy
head and thy beard. Well, said Arthur, thou hast
said thy message, which is the most villainous
and lewdst message that ever man heard sent
to a king. Also thou mayest see my beard is
full young yet for to make a purfell of, but
tell thou the kino; that — or it be lons^ he shall
do me homage on both knees, or else he shall
leese his head."
In some of the old Welsh MSS. it is stated
that " Khitta Gawr struck the ground with his
foot till the earth trembled ! till the skies
trembled ! till the stars trembled ! till the
tremor ran through all the worlds unto the
Mantles appear to have taken a prominent
place in Welsh romance. The old ballad of
"The Boy and the Mantle," in Percy's Reliques,
is based on Welsh romance, although the com-
piler of that work says: — ''The incidents of
the ' Mantle and the Knife ' have not, that I
can recollect, been borrowed from any other
Among the " Thirteen Treasures of the Island
of Britain," was the "Mantle of Tegaw Eurfron
(Beauty of the Golden Breast), that covered a
chaste woman, but would not an unchaste one ;
that would cover a truth - teller, but not a
Xab? 3ane of Sutton
A STORY OF THE ANCIENT STRADLING FAMILY
T is a loDely spot.
There, in the midst of swampy land,
where hillocks of stunted grass and
patches of broad water-flags abound, daffodils
bloom in the early spring days, and the flowers
of the marsh-marigold gleam serenely under the
changeful sky of April.
There, when autumn mists and vapours steal
solemnly along the earth, the will-o'-the-wisp
or jack=o'-lantern performs its wildest antics
and dances, and hovers deceptively over every
Through the centre of that marsh-land the
rains of winter form pools, and trickling
streamlets, and quagmires, but in summer it
is dry and parched.
On the borders of this marsh or swamp
stands Sutton, now a farm-house.
2,3^ L ady Jane of Sutton
Even in the present day, so strongly marked
are the traces of its ancient importance that
it makes it a place of dreams, in which the
mind can wander back through loDg and hoary
centuries, and live for a season among the people
of the far past.
Quaint windows, great heavy and massive
doors and doorways, a broad open staircase,
antique hall and curious entrance — all testify
to its former importance as a Manor House.
It was formerly the property of the Stradlings
of St. Donats, and there, as a rule, either the
second son or the dowager retired when the
new heir succeeded to the estates.
In the days of Sir Harry Stradling — before
that unfortunate baronet fell into the hands
of Colyn Dolphyn — Sutton was occupied by
Lady Jane, tiie mother of Sir Harry.
Lady Jane was the daughter of Henry
Beaufort, who afterwards became a Cardinal,
and she was also the widow of Sir Edward
Stradling, who, says the ancient chronicle,
*'took a journey to Jerusalem, and there was
made a knight according to the order of the
Holy Sepulchre. On his return he brought
with him from Italy a man of skilful hands
in stone-carving, who made the ornamental
columns that we see even to this day facing
us in the walls of the Castle of St. Donats."
In the Year 1739 339
Sutton was one of the manors sold to pay
the ransom to Colyn Dolphyn for Sir Harry
Early in the last century common report
declared Lady Jane to have been so enraged
at the sale thereof that she died an *' unnatural
Where, how, or when the lady died, the old
women could not tell. It was only rumoured
that the Lady of Sutton wandered about,
especially when the wind was high or when
the autumn mists enveloped the swamp. Then,
of course, she always carried a lantern in her
hand to guide her homeward over the morass.
One October evening, in the year 1739,
when the air was chill and a dreary breeze
crept sluggishly in the highway, two men came
along the road about a mile distant from Sutton.
They were bound from Wick to Llandow. After
the fashion of those days conversation turned
to ghosts and the laying thereof
" I'll never believe all the stories told about
ghosts and haunted houses," said the younger
of the two men, and the off-shoot of generations
of farmer folk.
^^ If you'd ever known one you'd believe in
all of them," said the stranger.
"Did you ever see one?" asked the young
340 Lady Jane of Stttton
" Did I ? " reiterated his companion in a
somewhat sneerful tone.
''Ah ! " remarked the stranger, " so you want
to know more about ghosts, even if you don't
believe in them ! "
They were now ascending rising ground that
led under a thicket where firs abounded.
October was scattering its coinage of gold and
broDze leaves upon the sodden earth, and the
brambles were bright with their banners of crim-
son and amber. Even the fading ferns were
momentarily gaining fresh life from the kisses of
the October sunset, and, as the odours of decay
were borne upon the autumnal air, there was
a weirdness in the subtle smell thereof. The
young man felt that mystery clung around the
fir branches, and the old man felt that stern
realities are sometimes more strano^e than
As they went deeper into the fir shadows the
young man renewed his questions.
" Tell me — have you ever seen a ghost ? "
" I have," replied the old man.
" Where— when ? "
" In Sutton, on September the twenty-seventh
of last year, 1738."
" Tell me all about it," said the youth.
"Well — to begin at the beginning — I never
before believed in ghosts. Now don't interrupt.
A Humble Researcher 341
or I'll not tell you a word. You must let me
tell my own story in my own way — or not at all.
In January 1738, I was sent to St. Donats
Castle on an errand for a distinguished archaeo-
logist. Antiquai'ian research is my profession —
if it may be so termed — and this new excursion
had considerable attraction for me, and for more
reasoDS than one. Strange to say, my name is
Stradling. I was born in Coombe Hawey, over
in Somerset — and this much I know, that I am
one of the direct descendants of the Strad-
lings of St. Donats. If you doubt it, read Mr.
Pepys, and you'll find the truth. I cannot tell
you how glad I was to be bound on a mission of
arch geological research to the place where long
generations of my ancestors had dwelt. My work
would most likely occupy nine or ten months,
and, as my patron was a very wealthy man,
there was no reason why I should be in haste,
I am only a humble researcher among all sorts
of antiquities, but I love my work, though I am
as poor as a church mouse. I thought the
journey from Cardiff to St. Donats could not be
pleasant, because I heard the roads were infested
with highwaymen and footpads. Besides which
— being a man well read in quaint lore, and
capable of ferreting out the secrets of stone walls
and faded parchment — I had upon my person
several ancient documents, and sufficient money
342 Lady Jane of Sutton
to keep me for at least three months. Still, you
see I had the spirit of a real old Stradling.
Don't I look like one ? Here I am, six feet in my
stockings, and strong and broad to boot. Not
one of your flattened and lean-looking gentle-
men, that dejectedly and persistently droop like
fallen reeds against each other in our mediseval
family pictures, nor yet like those prayerful folk
who wandered up and down the long corridor of
the castle in melancholy Indian rank and file. I
am, as you see, a stalwart Briton, ready to fight any
new Colyn Dolphyn that might masquerade his
piratical ancestor's pranks. And it always oc-
curred to me that if my respected ancestor Sir
Harry Stradling, had possessed more ' gump-
tion,' he'd not have been carried off by a sea-
thief. But it isn't for me to talk of other
people's shortcomings. I've always had more
than enough of my own.
" It was late in January, and as the evening
was gloomy I much longed to get to the end of
my journey. The gentleman who arranged this
work for me had been in communication with
Sir Thomas Stradling^ — then in France — and the
result was, I had to board and lodge in the
" Before I reached my destination, a clinging
mist began to creep along the roads and a thick
sea fog came up channel. A chilling rain fol-
In a Strange Land 343
lowed, and as we approached St. Donats the
wind arose. I was somewhat awed by the soli-
tude of the place. Everywhere the great trees
waved their branches, stretching them forth like
restless spirit-arms, now extended down to earth,
then uplifted heavenward. At times the wind
sobbed mournfully in the hollows, or shrieked
like a sin-burdened soul fleeting away to its
doom. Away below the clifi's, the sea grieved
among the wave-worn crags and rocks, and from
the Nash Sands came muttered prophecies of
doom. Miserable enough it must have been to
those acquainted with, and had friends in the
locality, but still more weird was it to a stranger
in a strange land.
" I was glad when my guide declared we were
neariug the castle, which in a few minutes we
did, my advent being announced by a wild gust
of wind that caused the old oaken doors to slam
violently. The servants of St. Donats gave me
a very hearty welcome, and I as truly welcomed
the light and warmth of the spacious hearth. I
sat talking with the good folks till long after
midnight, and then, wearied out, I went to bed.
The next mornino^ was one of the wildest I had
ever seen. All along the rock-bound coast the
waves ran in tempestuous fury, and a long line
of surf fringed the shore far above high- water
mark. Early in the forenoon I went to work
344 Lady Jane of Stitton
exploring the ancient domain. Now I tried to
ferret out a peculiar piece of masonry, or endea-
voured to discover the secret of some quaint old
gargoyle, then I sought to learn the mysteries
of the ancient Watch Tower. Those occupa-
tions kept me at work, with intervals of rest,
until the month of September. On the first
day of that month I went to Sutton, there to
inspect some ancient masonry. I slept there
the night, and all next day went through the
various rooms. Towards the evening of the
twenty-seventh I was in what they called the
' withdrawing-room,' which looked out into the
garden. The lurid sunset touched everything
with its crimson light. Deeply impressed by
the beautiful sunset, I lingered at the window
and looked out. Evening darkened into twi-
light, and the pale crescent moon gleamed coldly
from the rainy sky. By-and-by I became aware
of a rustling sound in the room, but I took no
heed of it, and when again I heard the noise I at-
tributed it to the wing-flapping of bats, or to the
restlessness of owls among the ivy. Presently I
heard the sound again, but this time it was
more distinct. I looked across the room, which
was growing dark with sombre shadows. There
was little to be seen — only the least faint day-
light falling softly upon the oaken floor, and the
shadows growing darker as they crept away into
A Tapping Noise along tJie Floor 345
far corners. Again I heard the noise, and
once more I looked across the room, but without
avaiL The noise became more distinct as day-
light waned, and at last I began to learn what
the sound resembled. Of all things in the world
it fell on my ears like the trailing of silken
robes — soft in sound, yet rustling. Presently I
began to feel that somebody or something was
entering the room. I felt the more certain of
this when I heard a tapping noise along the
floor. Tap, tap, tap, went the sound as the
rustling garments appeared to be trailing nearer.
I confess to a feeling of surprise and consider-
able but subdued terror as the tapping increased.
At last the weird sounds became distinct, though
by no means loud. Then the tapping and the
rustling came quite close to me. I could easily
define the noises — high heels, silken robes.
'' 'How curious,' I muttered audibly. Then I
looked around. As I did so I cauo;ht sisjht of
a long, trailing object in the twilight. My first
idea was to peep through the window, but some
unseen power appeared to pinion me helplessly
beside the casement. In fact, I was impelled
by some strange force to remain where I was,
and to wait or even to abide by whatever conse-
quences might follow. I soon became aware
that a somewhat stately figure was slowly cross-
ing the room, and in a few minutes I could see
346 Lady Jane of StUton
that it was robed in a trailing gown of some
dark colour, if not black. I obtained only a
side-view of the figure. The face was averted.
There was a stately grace about the form, to
which I already attributed the supernaturaL
" ' It must be a family ghost,' 1 muttered.
' If so, I shall be glad to make its acquaintance.'
You are astonished, young man, at my compo-
sure. Well, I had been used to wanderings in
strange places and among strange people. I
had seen halls that were reported to be haunted,
and if ever a ghost had visited the earth I felt
that I would be quite as ready to bring my
antiquarian abilities to bear upon it as upon
illegible legends and secret-keeping stones. At
last I felt compelled to speak. The silence, the
suspense were unbearable. ^ Who are you ? —
where did you come from ? — whither are you
going ? ' I asked in quick succession, but I failed
to gain a reply, and, as I spoke, the figure
vanished. A few minutes later I heard the
sounds of tapping footsteps and the rustling
robes dying in the distance of the corridor,
whither I followed them. But now all was
silent — not a sound to be heard but the owls
hooting and the loud flapping of bats' wings
in the night-air. That night and for several
more I kept my counsel, fearing to be made the
victim of laughter.
Lady Jane s Ghost 347
" In the course of a few days I once more saw
the apparition, and then I asked the inmates
'' ' You've seen her/ said my host.
'' ' Then she's well known,' I remarked.
" ' Yes ; it's Lady Jane's ghost. She always
appears before a death in the family. And now
there'll be no rest till the person is dead.'
^* ' Dear me,' I remarked, smiling. ' Then let
us hope the individual, whoever he or she may
be, will soon depart this life, for our sakes at
*' My remark was received by my host with a
shake of the head, which denoted disapproval
at my seeming levity. AVe were sitting on the
quaint oaken settle before the fire. Eight across
the kitchen long dark shadows fell, while smaller
and more grotesque shadows crowded around
the ancient furniture. Towards these the fire-
light danced and leaped in maddened ecstasy.
All the shadows grew smaller as the fire-flames
grew fiercer, and by-and-by the fire-glow filled
the room with its rich warm radiance. On the
hearth three fine hounds lay basking in the
warm fire-glow. Dreaming perhaps of some
happy hunting grounds, or the ardour of an
exciting chase, the hounds snifi'ed and snorted,
and restlessly turned from side to side.
" ' As a rule, when Lady Jane's ghost appears.
34^ Lady Jane of Sutton
said my host, ' the hounds get restless, and
some of them begin howling.'
''Even as he spoke, the dogs in the distant
kennel began baying to the rising moon, and at
length we could hear the hounds howling far
''My host shuddered and spoke in whispers.
I was mute with astonishment — so weird were
the sounds, and so ghostlike were the responsive
bowlings of other dogs in the village close by.
" ' Lady Jane's abroad, sure anufF,' said the
dairymaid, coming in. 'Did you hear the dogs,
master ? '
" ' Yes,' said he somewhat curtly, and in a
tone that silenced the maid.
" ' Do you believe in this ghost ? ' 1 asked.
" ' I do,' was the reply. ' I've always known
deaths to follow Lady Jane's visits.'
" ' Have you ever seen her ? ' I asked.
" ' Yes, yes,' said my companion, in a some-
what pained and impatient tone of voice.
" His manner forbade further questioning, and
I went out into the courtyard with the intention
of takino- a short walk. Second thouf^hts caused
me to go and occupy myself in making addi-
tions to the daily report upon my antiquarian
research. So I returned and vA-ent to one of the
"It was the twenty-seventh day of September.
Follow Me'' 349
I noticed that, simply because I had to head my
diary with the date. I had been writing for
more than an hour, when I was slightly startled
by the sound of footsteps on the stairway. I
went and looked down, but could not see any-
thing. So I resumed my writing, and continued
without interruption for nearly an hour. I
looked around, and there, close beside my chair,
stood the stately figure of Lady Jane. Her face
was pale but comely, her features were finely
shaped, and her manner was at once graceful
'^ Some irresistible impulse led me to say,
' What are your desires — what are your com-
mands ? '
" Then I heard a whispered, but audible,
' Follow me,' and I followed.
''Lady Jane quickly descended the stairs, and
I walked swiftly after her. On, on went Lady
Jane, through several corridors and chambers,
until we came to the top of the oaken staircase.
On and out went my ghostly leader, and her
occult influence compelled me to follow her foot-
steps. By this time I was perfectly calm and
self-possessed. There was nothing to fear.
Surely the phantom lady could not harm me,
I had no dread of that. While mentally musing
in this fashion, I became aware that Lady Jane
was emerging from a back door on to the
3 5 o Lady Jane of S^itton
swamp. Then she quickened her pace, until I
found that it was almost impossible to keep up
" On, on, we went to the very far verge of
the swampy land, upon which the autumnal
moonlight gleamed sadly.
" ' There ! ' exclaimed Lady Jane with a sigh,
as she raised a warning finger, and pointed to
a field beyond the morass. Then, in the twink-
ling of an eye, she vanished. I was alone.
Alone in the midst of a desolate swamp, with
only owls, night-hawks, and the bewildering
will-o'-the-wisp for companions. The phantom
had befooled me, and led me on for no purpose.
Yet, I strode on into the field indicated by
Lady Jane. As I did so, I saw two men
meeting. Tiie appearance of one was familiar
to me. Presently, he turned round and con-
fronted me. Great heavens ! It was my kins-
man Sir Thomas Stradling, second and only
survivinof son of the last Sir Edward Stradlins^ !
He pressed both his hands to his heart, while
from a distance his companion looked — as I
thought — heartlessly on.
" ' Sir Thomas ! ' I cried, ' how came you
here ? I thought you were in France ? ' As
I did so, I heard him exclaim in tones of sup-
pressed anguish, these words, 'Too late — too
late — but God bless you, my kinsman ! ' And
Killed in a Diiel 3 5 1
then he vanished. I was stunned. Clearly I
had seen my kinsman's spirit. I strode back
to SuttoD, but, before I reached the great
entrance, I fell face foremost on the pathway.
I remember nothing more until I found myself
lying on the settle beside the fire. My host
declared he had found me prostrate on the
pathway. I had evidently stumbled, he said,
and there, in an unconscious conditiou, I was
found when he returned from Llandow. He
thought I had suffered from some kind of fit.
I never told him of my adventure, but allowed
everybody to take it for granted that a ' kind
of fit' was the cause of my bruised and black-
'' Six weeks later the news reached St. Donats
that my kinsman. Sir Thomas Stradling, was
killed 'in a duel' at Montpelier in France, on
the 27th of September 1738.
" Lady Jane's visitation was truly an omen
to me of death, and I had seen the spirit of
Sir Thomas as it passed away from earth.
'' Before Christmas I left St. Donats Castle,
only to return just now to complete a few un-
finished matters, and I shall have to remain
in Sutton for about a week before my departure
for Coombe Hoawey."
On reaching Sutton the men parted company,
the younger man going onward to Llandow.
352 Lady Jane of Svtto7i
" Good-bye," said the young farmer. " I
hope / shall never see the ghost of Lady
" I think you never will," responded the
stranger, "seeing that quite recently, some godly
men undertook to lay the ghost of the Lady
*'3for tbe Hdno, or for ©wen
ARK, and gloomy, and frowniug looked
the castle and fortress of Dinas Bran.
Moonbeams that glittered down in the
valley failed to touch the ancient stronghold,
where shadows lurked, and crows congregated,
and moody-minded warriors waited the com-
mands of their chieftain.
Down below, in the beautiful Yale of Llan-
gollen, early summer roses shed their, sweet wild
petals among the tangles and thickets, and
dew-drops sparkled upon the dying and dead
May-blossoms, that drooped like melting snow-
flakes in all the sheltered hollows.
Up above, among the grim grey rocks and
crags arouud the wind-blown summit of the
mighty mountain, a tall and stately man paced
restlessly to and fro.
354 P^or the King, or for Owen Glendower ?
His men watched him with keen interest.
Too well they knew what troubled him — too
well they understood the confiict that was going
on in his mind.
Yet they did not blame liim.
Mightier men than Howel Vychan had bowed
down to Owen Glendower, who, in Sycharth,
lived and reigned as the virtual if not the
nominal King of Wales.
Howel, the last of the Vychaus, or Vaughans
of Dinas Bran, felt that he owed a debt of honour
to Wales and the Welsh.
His ancestor, Grufliydd ap Madoc, retreated to
Dinas Bran from the rage of his countrymen.
Gruffydd caused the Welsh to rise in arms
against him because of his marrying with Emma,
the daughter of James, Lord Audley, who in-
stigated him to side wdth Edward the First
against bis native sovereign and the princes of
From that time the Welsh had never trusted
the owners of Dinas Bran.
Gruffydd ap Madoc had little rest in his
almost inaccessible retreat. In a short time
he became a weary, dispirited, remorseful, and
conscience-stricken man, who eventually died
of a broken heart because of his faithlessness to
His descendants in another branch took up
Howell Vychan 355
their residence at Diiias Bran, and firmly held
the great British stronghold against Wales, and
in favour of the English king.
Howell Vychan was the first to exhibit any
feelings against the rights of ancient usage.
His heart was for Wales and freedom, but so
far his sword had been for the King of England.
Sorrowful feelino:s overwhelmed his soul as he
restlessly paced the narrow terrace of sward
under the castle walls.
Down below all was peaceful.
In the vale he knew the nightingales were
trilling mystic roundelays to the rising moon
that crowned the eastern hills with splendour,
while its radiance guarded the sacred Dee as
with a shield of burnished silver.
Up above all was uncertain.
In the castle he knew his men openly were
for the King of England, but he thought that
of late many of them were secretly for Owen
His thoughts perplexed him sorely, and, after
pacing for some time alone up and down under the
castle walls, he called his domestic bard to him.
• ^'Llew," he shouted, and forthwith a man old
enough to be his own father approached. ^'Llew,"
he said, ''I would consult with thee. Thou
know'st or canst divine what is passing in my
35 6 For the Kiiig, or for Ozven Glendower?
" I know," replied Llew.
" My mind wavers between two opinions.
Sometimes, as of old, I lean towards the king,
and yet — I confess my heart goes with Glen-
dower. And ever and anon the question arises,
Should I, a Welshman, and above all, a Yychan,
stand by the King of England, or go forth and
fight with Owen ? My men appear to be for
the English, but "
" Secretly they are for Glendower," interrupted
" Dost thou in truth think so ? " asked Howell
" Shall I tell thee what hath passed within
thy halls during the last few months ? Shall
I deliver over the secrets of others to thy
keeping ? "
*' Ay ! " exclaimed Howel.
" Let us wander downward to the mountain
hollow where the first faint moonbeams creep,
and the long crag shadows fall brokenly into the
place of concealment," said the bard. " There
shall we be safe from intrusion — safe from
listening ears and spying eyes."
" I will do as thou dost wish," said Howell pas-
sively, for he loved Llew the hoary-haired bard.
In silence they descended the tortuous way
from Castell Dinas Bran to the friendly hollow
where silvery moonbeams strayed, and long
Llew the Bard 357
shadows fell from the overhanging crags and
The warrior, fully clad in armour, looked a
dark and sombre fio^ure in the moonlight, that
was pale and faint up there on the mountain
heights. Llew, fully robed in the white and
flowing robes of his office, looked like one of the
Druids of old. His waving and silvery hair
floated over his shoulders, and his long beard
fell below his waist.
In a mossy corner of the hollow, a grey rock
formed a pleasant and secluded seat, and there
the men rested for consultation.
Howel Y} chan was the first to break the silence.
" AVhat hath passed in my halls of late — and
what secrets have others from me ? "
There was a slioht hauohtiness in his tone,
but Llew was accustomed to it, and merely said,
*' I will tell thee all. Since the early part of this
year strange noises have been heard, and sundry
tappings and rappings have disturbed the men
in the armoury."
Howel Vychan knit his brows. He, too, had
heard strange noises, and had been disturbed by
curious tappings and rappings. But he kept his
'' Further," continued Llew, " in rainy twilights
of January, when the cloud-rack hung heavily
over Dinas Bran, and the rifts were few, and the
35^ For the King, or for Owen Gleridower ?
wind groaned hoarsely around the stronghold, a
stranger, or spiritual visitor and not a mortal,
was frequently seen to enter the castle and never
" What dost thou mean ? " asked Howel.
" I mean this," said Llew. '' In the dusk of a
day, when the wind howled among the moun-
tains, and the rain beat mercilessly upon the
strono^hold, and the friditened crows in black
and whirlino^ crowxls made unendins; noise and
cawino^s over the towers, a stranQ^er strode under
the great gateway. Without let or leave he
entered the banqueting hall, and, as one accus-
tomed to the castle, he crossed direct to the
armoury, and there put off his visor and his
Howel Yychan sighed. He, too, had seen
the stranger, and had watched him in the
''What next?" asked Howell, still keeping
his own secret.
" He never hath been seen to go out," said
Llew. " Thy men like not to tell thee, but
they have confided in me."
" Did they give thee any word as to who the
stranger might be ? " asked Howel.
" They did," replied Llew. " Rhys, thy oldest
man, said the stranger was the spirit-form of
Gruffydd ap Madoc come up from his grave."
Gruffydd ap Madoc 359
" Gruffydd ap Madoc ? " questioned Howell.
'' The same," replied Llew.
" How could Rhys know Gruffydd ap Madoc,
who hath been dead over a hundred years ? "
^^ By hearsay. My grandfather knew him
well, and used to describe Lim, and the grand-
mother of Khys was Gruffydd ap Madoc's
cousin. Gruffydd was of medium height, thick
set and muscular. His hair and eyes were as
black as the raven's wing. His wife was small,
fair, blue-eyed and English.
Llew paused, as if in contemplation.
'' What more ?" asked Howel earnestly.
Llew lowered his voice as though he feared
the breeze of summer might overhear him, as
he said, " Rhys told me that he made up his
mind to speak to the stranger. One night,
when an unusually severe storm raged, and
Dill as Bran was enfolded in clouds, the stranger
entered. In the banqueting hall the dim light
of the log-fire glowed red upon the walls. The
sleuth-hounds whined in their dreams, and the
watch-dogs slept and snorted in the comforting
warmth. Across the fire-glow that fell broadly
from the hearth towards the centre of the room,
the stranger went and stood for a moment where
dark shadows cono^reo'ated under the western
wall. Crouching among the shadows in the
360 For the King, or for Ozven Glendower ?
ball, Rhys closely watched the stranger, who
appeared to be quite at home. And, as Ehys
looked, he saw the stranger going forward to-
wards the hearth, where he seemed to be rubbing
bis hands and examining his sword. When
Rhys stole quietly into the armoury, and crept
to the far end thereof, and waited results, soon
after, with slow and measured steps, the stranger
entered, and in one corner be cast off bis visor
and his armour. Taking courage, Rhys said
reverently, as one who wished not to vex the
visitor, ' In the name of the Holy Mother, who
art thou, and what dost thou want ? ' Gravely,
and in deep-voiced tones, the stranger replied,
'I was Grruffydd ap Madoc, but now I am a
restless wandering spirit from the regions of the
unknown.' Then there was silence. 'In the
name of the blessed Virgin Mary, what dost
thou want ? ' asked Rhys. In a hoarse and far-off
voice be answered, ' I want rest, right, and resti-
tution. Rest will not come until the Vycbans
make restitution of their aid and force for AYales
and the Welsh.' With that he vanished."
"Did Rhys ever see him again, or accost
him ? " asked Howel.
"He saw him again, and sees him now,"
replied Llew, "but he never accosts him."
"It is strange," said Howel to himself more
tban to Llew.
For the Honour and Freedorn of Wales 361
" It is," responded the bard.
"What is the meaniiw of the stranofer's
words?" asked Howeh
" That is pkin to see," said Llew. " The
stranger cannot rest until the Vychans of Dinas
Bran lend their aid and forces for the honour
and freedom of Wales."
"In short," said Howel, "it means that I, the
last of my race, must take a position for- "
"For the king, or Glendower — and that
speedily," interrupted Llew.
The bard knew his words had gone home to
Howel's heart like a sword-thrust, and, knowing it,
he suggested that they should return to the castle.
In moody, almost gloomy silence, the two
men returned to the stronghold.
Howel retired to a distant room, but the bard
remained in the banqueting hall.
The last of the Vychans felt uneasy.
To break faitli with the English king was to
obliterate all the old usages of the family since
the days of Edward the First. To go forth as
a partisan of Glendower, was to step from a
pinnacle of pride and ancient lineage to the
feet of a Welsh gentleman, who, after all, was
regarded as more or less of a rebel.
In the midst of his musing, Howel heard the
voice of Llew, and, brokenly, from the distance,
came the words of an ode by lolo Goch.
362 For the King, or for Owen Glendozver ?
Rich nnd sonorous was the recitation, forceful
and persuasive were the words. First he Lauded
Owen's home in Sycharth. He described the
" timber house " upon " four wooden columns,"
that raised his " mansion to the clouds," and,
what was then most unusual, the dwelling had
"smoke-ejecting chimneys" and *^ neatly glazed
windows." In the words of an English trans-
" All houses are in this compressed —
An orchard's near it of the best ;
Also a park, where, void of fear,
Feed antler'd herds of fallow deer, . . .
Of goodly steeds a countless host.
Meads where for hay the clover grows,
Corn-fields which hedges trim enclose ;
A mill, a rushing brook upon,
And pigeon- tower framed of stone ;
A fish-pond, deep and dark to see,
To cast nets in when need there be. . . .
Of various plumage birds abound,
Herons and peacocks haunt around.
AVhat luxury doth this hall adorn.
Showing of cost a sovereign scorn. . . .
His mansion is the minstrels' home.
You'll find them there whene'er you come. . .
His bairns approach me pair by pair.
Oh what a nest of chieftains fair ! . . .
Here difficult it is to catch
A sight of either bolt or latch ; • . •
And ne'er shall thirst or hunger rude
In Sycharth venture to intrude ! "
lolo GocJis Ode 363
Then he recited snatches of lolo Goch's ode
to Glendower as " crowned King of Wales."
In the words of the English translator they
run thus —
"All praise to him who forth doth stand
To Venge his injured native land ! . . .
In him are blended portents three,
Their glories blended sung shall be :
There's Owen, meteor of the glen,
The head of princely generous men ;
Owain, the lord of trenchant steel,
Who makes the hostile squadrons reel ;
Owain, besides, of warlike look,
A conqueror who no stay will brook. . , .
The scourger of the flattering race
For them a dagger has his face ;
Each traitor false he loves to smite,
A lion is he for deeds of might. . . .
Hail to the valley's belted king 1
Hail to the widely conquering —
The liberal, hospitable, kind.
Trusty and keen as steel refined ! . . .
Of Horsa's seed on hill and plain,
Four hundred thousand he has slain. . . .
Hail to this partisan of war.
This bursting meteor flaming far ! "
A long pause succeeded the recitation, and
Howel heard his men-at-arms begging Llew to
sing a song.
" What shall I sing ?" asked the bard.
" A song of thine own," clamoured the men.
364 For the King, or for Oweii Glendower f
Llew pondered awhile.
Then he said, " We all remember ill-starred
Hoel ap Einion."
Hoel a23 Eiiiion, a young bard, fell in love
with the celebrated Welsh beauty, proud My-
vauwy Yychan, who in 1380 lived at Dinas Bran.
She was a cousin of Howel Yychan, present lord
of the stronghold. Many still remembered that
the beautiful and haughty Myvanwy disdain-
fully treated the bard, who eventually died
broken-hearted. Two of the old melodies of
Wales were known as "Ffarwel Ednyfed Yychan,"
and " Caste) 1 Towyn." Both were in comme-
moration of Hoel's death.
" My heart aches when I think of Hoel," said
Llew tenderly, as he dashed a few tears from his
eyes, and in memory of him, I have composed
my song called ' Ffarwel Myvanwy Yychan.' "
The men-at-arms were touched.
The}^ remembered Myvanwy at Dinas Bran,
and too well they knew that her disdain caused
the death of Hoel ap Einion.
Llew took his harp, and after an appropriate
prelude he sang —
" ' Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychan ! ' Dear
The flowers are slowly dying,
And in the autumn of the year
Like lost hopes they are lying.
'' Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychanl'' 365
And this is what I sing all day —
* My heart is sad and lonely ;
The joys of life have passed away,
You come in visions only ! '
' Ffarwel, My vanwy Vychan ! ' Now
The rime of winter chills me ;
The snows are falling on my brow,
And thy cold slighting kills me.
And this is what I sing all day —
' My heart is sad and lonely ;
The joys of life have passed away,
You smile in visions only ! '
' ' Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychan ! ' Time
Will heal my heart of sorrow ;
But when age brings its silver rime
Love's light you fain would borrow.
And you will sigh througli many a day —
' My heart is sad and lonely ;
But Hoel, he has passed away.
He comes in visions only ! '
" In tangles of the sweet wild rose
The bard has found his guerdon,
There death has given him sweet repose.
And eased him of love's burden.
His voice is silent, and his lay
Of life both sad and lonely,
Like summer flowers has passed away,
He lives in memory only ! "
Tears followed the song, and silence deep and
profound fell upon all present.
366 For the King, or for Owen Glendower f
The mens emotions were roused, and even
the stern soldiers sympathised with the unfor-
tunate bard, whose farewell to his ladye-love had
been tenderly sung by the renowned poet of
During the singing of the song, Howel ap
Vychan had been a moody listener, and in the
silence that followed, he went without thinking
into the armoury.
Had he for a moment thought of the stranger,
he would have retired to rest — if repose he could
expect to get when bis brain throbbed and bis
heart ached in an agony of great unrest.
Seated on one of the carved oaken benches of
that period, Howel paused to thiuk over the
struggle that racked his mind, and made thought
like a whirlwind for wildness.
He stayed there so long, that when he looked
out into the night, the full moon was high in
the heavens. As he prepared to retire, the sound
of footsteps coming from the banqueting-room,
through the corridor leading to the armoury,
arrested his attention.
At first he thought it might be one of his
retainers, but when the great and massive oaken
door of the armoury swung open, he saw it was
Howel trembled with fear, and sank down
upon the bench again.
Give me Rest / " 367
He thought to address the stranger, but was
tongue-tied by dread.
Indescribable horror made him shake from
head to foot as he watched the strano^er re-
moving his visor and his sword, and then
setting aside his armour.
There was no necessity for Howel Vychan to
Slowly, deliberately, and with a stately step,
the stranger advanced a pace or two towards the
lord of Dinas Bran.
Howel Vychan felt as though the hand of
death was upon him, and that the fatal and last
grip of life almost relinquished his hold.
'' Give me rest ! " exclaimed the stranger.
" Give me peace. There is no rest — no peace —
even in the grave ! "
The voice sounded as though it came from the
depths of a cavern.
Howel Vychan shook like an aspen leaf.
" It is in thy power to give both," continued
the stranger, " and both rest and peace I must
and will have."
The stranger's tones were decisive.
Then HoAvel Vychan mustered up courage to
speak, although his words were tremulous with
" What would'st thou have me to do ? " he
368 For the King^ or for Owen Glendower?
"Fight with the Welsh for Wales and freedom,"
said the stranger.
A loDg pause followed, during which the
stranger paced the armoury as if waiting for a
Howel Vychan's will struggled with his weak-
ness for the mastery. Was he to battle against
his will, and in the end allow his weakness to
overcome and keep him pledged to stand by the
King of England, while Wales, dear Wales,
fought for freedom ? "
Then he said to himself, ''The time has come.
It must be one thing or the other, and which is
it to be — for the king, or for Glendower ? "
" Answer ! " exclaimed the stranger in an
almost angiy tone, at the same time lifting
high above his head a sword, the blade of
which glittered unnaturally in the uncertain
It appeared as if the stranger had read Howel's
The uplifted sword, the stern command, awed
Howel, who slowly and deliberately responded,
" It shall be for Glendower and Wales."
" Dost thou faithfully promise ? " asked the
" I faithfully promise," responded Howel
" AVhen thou dost fulfil thy promise, I will
Before the Hour of Noon 369
rest in peace, and trouble thy household no
longer," said the stranger.
When Howel dared to glance upward he found
that the stranger had vanished, and the door of
the armoury was shut.
Early next moruing Howel requested Llew to
see that all his men were assembled in the great
courtyard before the hour of noon.
The men wondered what was going to happen.
Had King Henry the Fourth sent for his power-
ful ally Howel Vychan ?
Not a man could tell.
Did Llew know why they were thus mustered
The bard had not the least knowledge of his
Just before the hour of noon Howel Vychan,
clad in full armour, strode manfully into the.
presence of his men.
In a few words he told them of his altered
feelings — how he felt that it was .his duty to
aid in the protection of Wales and the Welsh
against the . Kiug of England, and how Llew
was to go to Sycharth forthwith and inform
Glendower of his intentions.
'' Now," exclaimed Ho-\vel Yychan, " I must
know which it is to be with you — for Wales
or England. Those who wish to remain loyal
to the King of England can peaceably quit
:^yo Fo7' the King, or for Owen Glendoiver ?
Castell Dinas Bran during the clay. Those who
are willing to stand by me, and join Glendower,
will remain here. Question them, Llew."
The bard ascended the horse-block, and in clear,
stentorian voice cried out, " Answer now. Which
is it to be — for the kino- or for Owen Glendower ?"
As one man all the warriors replied, " For
Howel Yychan and Owen Glendower ! "
Loud cheers rang around Dinas Bran, and the
echoes thereof descended into the mountain hol-
lows far below.
In the afternoon Llew departed for Sycharth,
and two days afterwards, he returned with the
request that Howel Yychan would visit the leader
of the revolt.
Three days later Howel Yychan was enrolled
in the list of Owen Glendower's supporters. The
lord of Dinas Bran was, in a remote way, a rela-
tive of Owen Glendower.
Of the great Welsh leader, Hollinshed's Chro-
nicles contain the following particulars, which
may be interesting to those who are unacquainted
with the stern opponent of King Henry the
Fourth: — "This Owen Glendower was son to
an esquire of Wales named Griffith Wichan
(Gruffydd Yychan) ; he dwelled in the parish
of Conwaie (Corwen), witliin the county of
Merioneth, in North Wales, in a place called
Glendourdwie, which is as much as to say in
" Thro2igh Art Magic " 371
Eoglisb, as the valley by the side of the water
of Doe, by occasion whereof he was surDamed
According to Hollinshed, ''In 1402 Owen
GrlendowTjr (with Ijis WelshmeD) fought w^ith
the Lord Grey of Euthin, coming forth to
defend his possessions, which the same Owen
wasted and destroyed ; and as the fortune of
that day's work fell out, the Lord Grey was
taken prisoner, and many of his men were slain.
This hap lifted the Welshmen into high pride,
and increased marvellously their wicked and
Soon after this Edmund Mortimer, Earl of
March, was defeated, and afterwards became
Hollinshed then quaintly states : " About the
mid of August, the king, to chastise the pre-
sumptuous attempts of the Welshmen, went
with a great power of men into Wales, to pur-
sue the Welsh captain, Owen Glenclower, but,
in fact, lost his labour ; for Owen conveyed
himself out of the way into his known lurking
places, and (as was thought), through art magic,
he caused such foul weather of winds, tempest,
rain, snow, and hail to be raised for the annoy-
ance of the king's army, that the like had not
been heard of."
In the Chronicles of Adam of Usk — who
3 72 For the King, or for Oiveii Glendower?
studied law in London with Owen Glendower,
and afterwards entering the Church, went on a
pilgrimage to Kome — Owen is styled " Oenus,
dominus de Glendordee." Adam of Usk says
about the defeat and capture of Lord Grey de
Euthin : — ''At so great a blow thus given by
Owen to the English rule, when I think thereon
my heart trembles. For, begirt by 30,000 men,
who issued from their lairs throug^hout Wales
and its marches, he overthrew the castles, among
which were Usk, Caerleon, and Newport, and
fired the towns. In short, like a second Assy-
rian, the rod of God's anger, he did deeds of
unheard-of tyranny with fire and sword. These
things I heard of at Rome."
In other parts of the " Chronicon Adae," it
is stated that Henry the Fourth intended sup-
pressing the Welsh language altogether, and
that in the deadly campaign of 1401, more
than a thousand children were carried off into
After many brilliant victories, Glendower in
1402 held his celebrated assembly in the old
dwelling still known as the Parliament House,
in the Eastern Street, Machynlleth, and there
the great leader of Welsh insurrection was
crowned King: of Wales.
Owen was then accompanied by the vener-
able bard lolo Goch, who saw in his hero the
Dafydd Gam 2i72)
fulfilment of an old prophecy, in which it stated
that a prince of the race of Cadwaladr should
rule the Britons after emancipating them from
In that assembly Dafydd Gam, the Fluellin of
Shakespeare, endeavoured to assassinate Owen,
but was frustrated. For tbis ojQfence, Gam was
seized and sent to a prison among tbe mountains
Later on Owen, passing through Breconshire,
totally destroyed Gam's house called Gyring wen,
situated near the river Honddu.
In the autumn of 1403 Owen Glendower
went to South Wales, and foremost in the
battles was Howel Yychan. Cardiff, Swansea,
Coity, Penmark, Llandaff, and Caerleon suffered
badly from the ravages of the war. The siege
of Coity was very serious. That castle was
then in the possession of Alexander Berkrolles,
the surviving representative of the '' fighting
Turbervilles." Tidiness of this reached the king:,
who ordered his sons. Prince Henry and "Lord
Thomas," to raise the siege of Coity. On the
thirteenth of November the king issued man-
dates to the sheriffs of Warwick, Worcester,
Gloucester, and other counties to provide a con-
tingent each of t\Yenty men-at-arms, and two
hundred archers to join the army of his sons.
On March the eleventh, 1405, the celebrated
374 ^or the King, 07\for Ozven Glendower f
battle of Grosmont was fought. It was one
of the most disastrous events in the whole
of Owen's campaign. Between 800 and 1000
brave men were slain, and most of them were
rebels of Glamorgan and Brecon. Owen was
not present at Grosmont, but the reverse caused
him to assemble all his remaining strength as
soon as possible to try and atone for the loss.
This brinofs ag-ain to the front the brave and
sturdy Howel ap Vychan, the lord of Dinas
March 15, 1405.
Swiftly through the afternoon air arrows
darted in every direction, and a wild wind,
bio wins: downward from the Breconshire moun-
tains, fanned the faces of the warriors, who were
hot and feverish with the terrible exertion
caused by the fray.
" The day waxes, " exclaimed Owen Glendower,
still bravely standing in the front, " and I fear
me the enemy will overcome."
"Press on!" shouted Howel Yycban, quitting
Glendower's side for a moment to give direc-
tions to the men-at-arms, who were heroically
struggling for the mastery.
Durins: the morning^ the wind arose to a s^ale,
in the afternoon its strength waned, and to-
wards sunset scarcely a breeze could be felt.
" On — Welshmen, on / " 375
To spare the English reader, the name of
the locality is here once given, and need not
be repeated. It is known in Welsh history
as Mjnyddypwllmelyn, in Breconshire.
Hard and fast in the ruddy sunset, Owen
Glendower and his men attacked the kino;'s
Now and again Howel Vychan turned to
urge his comrades.
" On — Welshmen, on ! " he cried, and with
renewed inspiration the men-at-arms and the
archers pressed forward.
It was a wild scene of disorder.
The king's army was very pow^erful, and
as time passed, Owen Glendower and his sup-
porters felt that the chances were going against
When the sunset deepened into night the
truth was known.
Owen Glendower had lost — Henry the Fourth
Grand, heroic, serene under defeat, Owen
Glendower, leaning on his sword, paused for a
while to look upon the scene and the loss of
his latest hopes.
'^ Undone ! " cried the great leader of insur-
rection to Howel Vychan.
"Alas!" replied Howel. '*we were too weak.
And yet — our men were brave ! "
376 For the King, or for Ozven Glen dower 9
Owen Glendower sighed.
There in the shadows, his brother Tudor was
numbered amoDg the slain.
Just a 23ace beyond, Owen's son stood among
Fifteen hundred of Glendower's men were
taken prisoners or slain.
It was a scene to make even the intrepid
Welsh leader quail.
With a great sob, and a mighty sigh, Owen
Glendower, turning to Howel Yychan, ex-
claimed, " It is craven-hearted to say so, but we
must flee ! There is no help for us. Perhaps —
but who can tell'? — in a distant day we shall
arise with renewed strength and fight again
for home, for Wales, and freedom ! "
Howel Yychan could only grasp his friend
by the hand and say — "Whither thou goest
will I go. I follow wherever thou would'st lead."
As the twilight deepened into night, Owen
Griendower, accompanied by Howel Yychan and
a few trusty and faithful followers, hastened
from the scene of action.
In the first of the dark days, the party
remained as outcasts in Glamorganshire. They
had to shelter in caves, in secluded woodlands,
and other hiding-places. The Dinas Eock in
the Neath Yalley, is pointed out by tradition
as one of his hiding-places.
Ogof Owain 377
Then came the saddest part of all.
Deserted by everybody excepting Howel
Yychan and a few other friends, Owen Glen-
dower wandered amono^ desolate neio^hbourhoods
in order to secrete himself from the kino^.
Now he paused among the wild wastes of
Plinlimmon, then he sought sanctuary among
the rocks of Moel Hebog, and in time he reached
a cave on the Merionethshire coast, about one
mile north from the river Dysyniiy. That
cavern has ever since been known as Oorof
Owain or Owain's Cave.
It was evening.
On the white-crested waves of Cardigan Bay,
the last flush of the crimson sunset cast rosy
flecks, that contrasted vividly with the dark
silver-green dejDths of the waters.
White- winged birds circled under the clear
blue sky, and wheeled in the wake of the por-
poises that sported themselves out at sea.
In Owain's Cave the shadows were dark,
gloomy, and foreboding.
Three men alone were there.
Owen — worn with sorrow and broken-hearted
— had lived to see his beloved Sycharth a fire-
scathed ruin, and all his possessions seized by
the king, and Howel Yychan survived to lament
the loss of Dinas Bran.
After days of fasting and exposure to the
2,^8 For the King, or for Owen Glejidozver?
winds and weather, the brave Howel was seized
by a fever, and there, in the loneliness of wain's
Cave, he lay prone and lielpless under the care
of his friend, the great but defeated Welsh
leader, and a trusty man named Hugh.
" I fear he cannot survive," said Hugh, as the
tears rolled down his deeply-furrowed face.
"Alas I and he hath been faithful unto death,"
sighed Owen. "Many a time when the sword
hath been nigh to my heart, Howel hath averted
it. Many a night when provision was short,
Howell hath gone without to give unto me.
Many a day when my lips were parched, and
my tongue clave to the roof of my mouth,
Howel hath foregone a much-needed draught of
cooling water to give unto me ! "
Glendower and Hugh sobbed together and aloud.
"What is it? make speed!" cried Howel in
his quick and impatient AVelsh way.
Glendower and Hugh tried to soothe him.
"I will fight," exclaimed Howel. "I will
fight to the last. On men — on — press forward
. . . For home — for Wales — for freedom !"
Then he sank back exhausted.
Just as the first faint rays of the rising moon
glimmered across the waves of Cardigan Bay,
and the shadows wxre growing deeper and
darker in wain's Cave, Howel Vychan once
more stirred in his feverish slumbers.
The Lord of Dinas Bran 379
" On Welshmen — on ! " he cried. Press forward !
. . . Now — now . . . The fio-ht is foudit . . .
The battle is won ! . . . Not for the Kino- . . .
For home . . . for AVales . . . and for . . .
Gleudower ! "
Then, like a tired child, with a deep and weary
sigh, he sank back upon his rude resting place,
There, in loneliness and sorrow, Owen Glen-
dower wept as only a brave and strong man
can weep, while Hugh mournfully and tenderly
performed the last kindly offices for their dead
" He is gone ! " sighed Glendower. '' And with
him go my long last hopes."
And once more he wept aloud.
In the golden radiance of the rising moon, in
sight and sound of the sea, the mortal remains
of the faithful Welshman were buried.
There ever the great sea sobs in winter, and the
autumn wdnds chaunt their saddest requiems.
There the song birds sing in the long summer
days, while the dirge of the wavelets sounds like
mysterious music ; and there, until *^ there shall
be no more sea," the silver sands will conceal
all that remains of the brave and faithful Howel
Vychan of Dinas Bran.
r-~— ^~, '^.
N ^ 1
pip, 3flu9b, ant) 3flan&cr6
^QIP is an old bouse standing on the left-
hand side of the rugged road leading
Flusli stands exactly on the opposite side of
Flanders is a hundred yards beyond its
neighbours, and it has the advantage of being
on sloping ground directly facing the inoiniDg
Flush and Flanders only retain their ancient
names. Pip is now known as the White House.
In the days of old, the three dwellings were
only known as Pip, Flush, and Flanders.
Even the most rare and antique MSS. and
documents bearing upon the subject, fail to clear
up the meaning of the word Pip. Some have
said it means Peep, other authorities regard it
as Pip, which term the Welsh even now apply
to anything small, such as a " pip of cheese," or
a " pip," meaning a little piece of butter.
The Flemings 381
Flush was an abbreviation of Flusliinsf, in
Holland, and Flanders was so named after that
province in Belgium.
The three houses were origiually occupied by
These were the Flemings who emigrated to
Eng-land, after the disastrous floods that inun-
dated their own low-lying country in the twelfth
century. Some of the Flemings settled at, and
gave a name to, the village called Flemingstone,
in Glamorgan, and quite likely the owners of
Pip, Flush, and Flanders were offshoots of those
As time rolled on the property passed into
other hands, and with the exception of the name
in one or two families, not a trace of the ancient
Vestiges of their art survived them for many
centuries, but in time the weavers became ex-
tinct in this part of Wales.
In the seventeenth century, when witches were
as plentiful as blackberries, and genuine wizards
were few, an ancient dame, who bore the reputa-
tion of beinof conversant with the "black art,"
lived in a cottage known as the thirteenth cen-
tury Monastery Gate-house.
All the good people dwelling in the neigh-
bourhood were afraid of the old woman, who
by common report was said to plague the three
Pip, Flush, and Flanders
Flemish houses more than any other in the
town. Some declared it was because Each el
Flemynge bore in her blood traces of those old
settlei-s, whose descendants wasted their patri-
mony, and brought the reputed witch's great-
grandfather to beggary.
The inhabitants of the town were ashamed of
Llaniltyd Vawr — or the '' Sacred place of Iltyd
the Great," as it is translated into English,
although in the present day it is only known
as Llantwit Major — was always an eminently
respectable town. Somebody — English, of course
— slightingly described it as a "large village or
dilapidated town," and the people rose up in
arms. That the town of St. Iltutus, the site of
the fifth century and first Christian college in
Britain, the place sanctified by the footsteps of
St. Paul the Apostle, should be spoken of irre-
verently was, and is, more than the inhabitants
respectively of the past or present could or can
Pilgrims, students, and antiquarian nomads
of old — tourists and archseoloo^ical societies of
to-day — and visitors from all parts of the world
even in these last years of a busy century — came
and come simply to inspect the antiquities of the
place. These include ecclesiastical structures and
domestic architecture of the twelfth, thirteenth,
The Llantwit Crosses 383
and fifteenth centuries, while the great age of
the Llantwit crosses puzzles even the most
learned antiquarians, who contradict each other
with amazing pertinacity, and come to endless
squabbles on the subject.
To return to the three ancient houses.
In the year 1668 Pip was occupied by Edward
Vanne, a descendant of the Vannes of the old
Manor Place at Llantwit. Flush was the resi-
dence of James Adam, the ancestor of whom is
thus described in Leland's Itinerary : "A little
from the Pipe is Castleton, a Manor Place on
a Hille ascending ... it longged to one Hugh
Adam, a man of mene Landes. ..." Flanders
was the abode of the widow and only son of
of Thomas Giles, and of his ancestor Leland
gives the following account :— " Half a mile by
the West Pipe standeth a Pile or Manor Place
called Gilestown and Village of the same
Name. . . . One Giles, a gentleman of an
ancient House yet having a Hundreth Markes
of Lande by the Yere, is Lorde of it."
Towards sunset, on the eve of the ist of
May 1668, those who still were accustomed to
kindle the Beal, Baal, or Beltane fire, in honour
of Beli, the Emperor of the Sun, repaired to the
great British encampment known as the Castle
Ditches, overlooking Colhugh Point, the rocks
384 Pip, Fhtsh, and Flanders
of which stretch forth hungrily into the Severn
One of the men who helped in the work was
a dreamy individual, who either rejoiced or
lamented in being gifted with second sight.
Stephen Gamage, as he collected driftwood
on the solitary shore, looked westward towards
the sunset. His thoughts reverted to druidical.
lore, and the ancient days when the Druids
paid adoration to Dwyvan and Dwyvach, the
only survivors of the apocryphal Deluge ; to Hu
Gadarn, " who first showed the race of the
Cymry the method of cultivating the ground ; "
to Ceridwen and her mystic cauldron, to Gwyn
ap Nudd, master of the great Unknown, and to
Beli, the Monarch of the Sun.
He pictured to himself the long-bearded Druids
clothed in snowy vestments, and followed by
the Eoman warriors with their short and sharp
two-edged swords and glittering helmets. In
imagination, he heard the mino:led sounds of
wretched groans, shouts of rage, and the dull
awful noise of bardic bodies hurled over preci-
pices and rocks. Fancy led, he thought that the
black staves of an ancient landing place or stage
were the remains of Eoman soldiers, who in
ages gone w^ere turned into stone for having
persecuted the Druids. In his days, as in ours,
those hardy wooden staves standing in the
Stepheiis Reverie 385
teeth of the storms, were known by some as
the "Eoman soldiers," by others as the "Black
Stephen's thoughts went back to still more
remote ages, of which he had heard much, and,
in an imperfect way, had read a little ; of days
when, in Wales, as an old chronicler records,
" Dark forests of spruce and pine frowned on the
mountains, save where the peaks wxre so elevated
that they wore all winter long a mantle of
snow. Savage and desolate heaths w^ere spread
out here, undulating and richly- clothed prairies
there. The beaver constructed his dams across
the streams ; the tail-less hare of Siberia
sported over the plains ; the Lithuanian bison
and the forest ox . . . fed in countless herds.
Deer of incredible stretch of antlers w^ere in the
wastes ; the reindeer, the Artie elephant . . .
the Siberian rhinoceros . . . roamed through
the country in the winter time. Horses like
those of the Tartarian steppes, foxes and wolves,
w^ild boars and bears, shared with them the
possession of the soil. . . . With every advancing
summer came droves of migratory animals from
the South, amongst which the Hod, a kind of
leopard now unknown, and hyaenas . . . bore
Stephen was aroused from his reverie by
Eichard Flemynge, brother to Kachel, the re-
86 Pip, Flush, and Flanders
puted witch, who said abruptly, "Thee dost see,
or pretend to see, the future. Now, dost thou
know what manner of death I myself shalt die ? "
" I do," replied Stephen.
"What is it ? " asked Eichard.
" A death that thou and thy people would
think the least likely," replied Stephen.
Eichard Flemynge endeavoured to get Stephen
Gamage to explain his meaning, but the man
Then they toiled upward along the heights to
the British encampment.
In those days the steep eastern hill above
Colhugh was almost covered with dense thickets
of hazel, through wliich winding pathways led
to the summit. Among the deep entrenchments
where the blackberry brambles fell in long trails,
the may-blossoms looked like snow upon the
thorn bushes, and the fresh green leaves of the
hazels appeared like emeralds in the glow of
On the summit of the hill, between the en-
trenchments and the western cliff-line, there is a
broad plateau of grass, and in the centre thereof
the people prepared the Beltane fire.
Tow and tar-smeared faggots were highly
piled together, and surrounded by dry drift-
wood, of which willing hands brought a large
The Beltane Fire 387
Then the people Wcaited, gazing eagerly as the
sun, like a ball of liquid fire, sank behind the
Slowly, like weary pilgrims, the last rays of
the setting sun descended into the horizon, and
as the carmine lioiit faded amono^ tlie distant
cloud-folds, Stephen Gam age lighted the Beltane
fire. Almost simultaneously, on each neighbour-
ing eminence and j)i"omontory along the Severn
Sea, on the heights of Porlock and the Quantock
ranges on the English side, and on every high
hill throughout Wales, Beltane fires burned and
blazed in the waning daylight.
Just before twilight deepened into night, and
as the May moon arose slowly from the east,
those who congregated around the Beltane fire
commenced dancing and singing wild rounde-
lays. Old and young alike joined in the rem-
nants of those mysterious rites and orgies with
which the ancient Britons propitiated the sun.
In the seventeenth century these festivities
consisted chiefly of weird songs and morris dances,
and orgies more or less ludicrous and grotesque.
When the revelry was in its zenith, a dark,
thin, and small figure ascended the ridges and
approached the crowd.
It was Rachel Flemynge, the reputed witch.
At her coming those who saw her instantly
turned the thumbs of each hand inward, and
Pip, Flush, and Flanders
closed their fingers firmly uj^on them. Eachel,
muttering and shrugging her shoulders, hurried
towards the fire. As she passed on, the crowd
made way for her, so that their garments should
not toucli hers.
In the strange and weird light of the Beltane
fiie, those who stood nearest the blaze appeared to
be magnified, and the most marked figure in the
multitude was that of Eachel Flemynge.
She was a small, thin woman, whose features
still bore many traces of former beauty, though
the nose and chin were pointed, and promised
to draw nearer with age. Her eyes were bright
and sparkling, and her movements were still
active, although she was sixty. In her hands
she held a stick, which she carried more to help
her over the ruo^aed heio^hts and rouoli roads
than for the support of age.
As she approached the fire some of the men
started suddenly from her.
'' Ye needn't draw back as if a snake had
stung the lot of you," said Rachel sharply, as
she went forward, and, taking up a large stick,
poked the Beltane fire therewith.
Suddenly, from the centre of the pyre, the
flames shot upward, and a shower of sparks fell
like hail upon the multitude. In a moment
dancing and song ceased, and the people stood
spellbound, as a dark column of smoke ascended
'' B tern her for a Witch!'' 389
to the sky, wliere the May moon, veiled by soft
evening mists, shone in chastened splendour.
Another shower of sparks fell among the crowd,
and then half-a-dozen men rushed towards Kachel
" Burn her ! " shouted the multitude. " Burn
her for a witch ! "
The people crowded around her, and two of
the men seized the unfortunate woman, who was
powerless in their grasp.
" Scratch her ! " cried some of the women.
'' Get a few drops of the beldame's blood."
" Ay ! " almost yelled the youths as in one
voice ; " a few drops of her black blood would
be a boon."
"And stop her baneful workings," shouted the
It was a wild and startling scene.
Dense clouds of smoke darkened the air, and
bright sparks of fire fell in almost ceaseless
showers of mingled red and yellow colours.
In the midst of the confusion the crowd
surged hither and thither. Now the people
swayed around Kachel Flemynge, then they
surged in dangerous proximity to the Beltane
fire. Yells, hisses, and hootings rang through
the evening air, and as the multitude clamoured
around the woman, every voice was raised against
390 Pip, Fhtsh, and Flanders
" Burn her ! Burn her for a witch ! " was the
At that moment, slowly, but determinedly,
Stephen Gamage pushed his way through the
'' Let the woman alone ! " he exclaimed, and
the men instantly relinquished their hold of
"Let her alone !" he repeated in a stentorian
voice, before which all the people present
" She but thrust a log into the fire, and
thereby, with spirited touch, did what those
of old would have done had they been in her
place. It is considered ill-luck to let the Beltane
fire smoulder or go out. Rachel Flemynge, I
beseech thee, follow me."
Rachel obeyed, and the crowd parting, made
a pathway for the reputed witch and her pro-
tector Stephen Gamage.
Wending their way downward from the
Castle Ditches, Rachel and Stephen were soon
concealed from sight by the hazels that filled
the ridges sloping towards the meadow^s.
Meanwhile, the people resumed their dances
and sinoino- and some of the rouo^her classes
indulged in strange but harmless buff'oonery.
It was midnight before the crowd dispersed,
and wearied out, went homeward.
" Wrongly and Shamefully Treated'' 391
Soon afterwards, Stephen Gamage returned
to watch with the others, and replenish the
Beltane fire, which was not allowed to expire.
''Why dost thou always take the part of
the witch ? " asked one of the company, ad-
'' Because I think her wrongly and shamefully
treated," replied Stephen.
" And partly because thou'rt something like
kin of hers," remarked Kichard Flemynge.
'' How so ? " questioned a neighbour.
"The people call Eachel a witch, and all of
us know that Stephen is a man of second sight,"
" True, true," said the company in a chorus.
''It is not because of that," said Stephen
decidedly. " How would ye all like your
women-kind served so ? We are all sons of
mothers ; some of ye are husbands of wives
and brothers of good sisters. Would we like
them to be hustled and held in inhuman grip,
and well-nigh thrust living into the Beltane
Stephen spoke almost savagely as he knit his
bushy brows, and tightly compressed his lips.
In silence, the other men stirred and re-
plenished the fire, and then stretched their
bodies forth on the grass, therefrom to see that
the embers should not expire.
392 Pip, Fhish , and Fla n ders
While the moon was still in its zenith, the
watchers fell soundly asleep, and Stephen Gam age
was left to keep his vigil alone.
He sauntered away from the verge of the
lofty cliffs wherefrom he could gaze downward
to and across the Severn Sea, and at the same
time watch the Beltane fire.
In the soft haze of nisfht and moonlio-ht,
Stephen became, as was his wont, dreamy and
thoughtful. Fancy portrayed the past, when
Druids wandered on new-moon nights through
the groves of oak, or went in search of the
healing and magical vervain, or dewy selago,
and the three - leaved samolus, or paused to
plant and transplant roots and herbs, together
with seeds sown when the moon was on the
He thought of dim, mysterious nights, when
the air was heavy with the breath of battle, and
the Druids invoked Taranis in the grim shadows
that surrounded rude and primitive altars. His
mind reverted to frosty nights in winter when
the stars glittered in the dark blue heavens, and
the Druids, Bards, and Ovates, with priestly
pomp and ceremony, went forth to cut down the
sacred mistletoe, the juice of which was supposed
to cure the most deadly wound of spear or arrow.
Then he recalled what he had read about the
strange ceremonies and rites in connection with
" The DrtncTs Dirge " 393
tlie anguinium or serpent's ^gg, which, according
to tradition, protected the finder from danger,
and in some instances from death.
Sometimes he paused in his reverie to re-
plenish the Beltane fire, or to gaze dreamily at
the moon as it went slowly westward.
To him there were magic and witchery in
the scene, as the setting moon dropped like a
silver ball behind the dark western hills, and
the pale, tremulous light of morning made a rift
in the eastern cloud-folds.
Stephen Gamage, the man of second sight,
standing on the verge of the grey cliflfs over-
looking the grey sea, recited to himself the
"Druid's Dirge" and the " Bard's Lament."
"It is too late ! for twilight's solemn splendour
Is waning, and the moments in their flight,
Like weary warriors, full sadly render
Their numbers to the roll-call of the night.
It is too late ! My soul is weary, yearning
For the grey gleam of dawn upon the rills ;
It is too late ! behold the gloom is turning
To golden sunrise on the morning hills.
My soul is sad ! a gentle sound of sighing
Tells me the world is lost — the fight unwon ;
Yet death upon his way here to me winging,
Catches a sweet smile from the rising sun.
,94 Pip-) Flush, and Flanders
My soul is sad ! How many hours beside ye
I have gone forth, but now must go alone,
With none to utter welcome, none to guide me
Through the dark star-ways to a realm unknown.
So ends my life ! From thee and all I sever
In anguish too sublime for earthly plaint.
So ends my life ! Alone, now and for ever !
Farewell ! The world recedes ! My soul grows faint !"
" Long years, ay many, we have roam'd beside him,
O'er ways and paths that we anew must tread,
And though wide realms of mystery divide him
Now from our sight, we cannot deem him dead !
We held him in our arms while life was failing,
In close embrace, and watch'd his fluttering breath,
While the dim moonbeams in the west were paling,
And day-dawn veiled the awful calm of death !
In morning light we saw then and for ever,
The grandeur of his spirit and its power.
E'en as his mortal vestment seem'd to sever.
We saw the immortal bursting into flower ! "
When Stephen concluded the recitation of these
lines, he covered his face with his hands and
As he looked up, the East was glowing with
rose-colour and gold, and the king-like sun
arose in all his splendour as a triumphant
In Quest of May Dew 395
and victorious warrior, who had vanquished the
monarch Nio'ht and his minions.
With tlie first gleam of sunshine the Beltane
fire expired, and soon afterwards only a heap of
smouldering embers remained to mark the place
where, with strange orgies, grotesque dances, and
wild songs, the people had celebrated the eve of
the first of May.
Stephen Gamage roused the sleepers, and
could not refrain from taunting them as to the
manner in which they had fulfilled the vigil.
Descending from the Castle Ditches, the com-
pany entered the meadows, and were going
homeward, when they suddenly encountered a
bevy of merry maidens gaily trooping seaward,
apparently in quest of something.
'*What do they seek?" queried one of the
Beltane fire watchers.
'' Dost thou not know what their quest is ? "
asked Stephen Gamage.
" How should I ? 'Tis not long since I came
to these parts," was the retort.
" Then know, once and for all," replied Stephen,
'* that these fair maidens are come in quest of
May dew. 'Tis said that the dew collected on
the first morning of May is a greater beautifier
than all the dew of the month, although dew
at any time, especially in the spring and summer
solstices, is wonderfully efificacious in clearing the
39^ Pip^ Fhtsh, and Flanders
skin of all imperfections, especially of freckles.
Besides which, it makes the skin smooth and
" Thou should'st write a ' Book of Beauty,' "
said one of the girls, overhearing him.
*^ Or else give directions for a small fee, after
the fashion of the leech," remarked another.
" Th}^ skin is fair for a Welshman, Stephen.
P'rhaps thee dost use May dew, and can per-
sonally testify as to its virtue," joked one of the
" My skin is fair, because, on my mother's
side, I claim descent from the Scotch, while my
brown hair is obtained from my father's people,
who were all dark, and, in some cases, swarthy."
Thus talking and musing, the men went to
their homes, where generous repasts waited
Meanwhile the maidens bathed their faces
freely in the May dew, which was allowed to dry
on the skin instead of being washed off.
The troop of merry girls had another object
in view, in sauntering through the meadows
early on that beautiful May morning. It was
an old woman's story, that if a maiden took a
piece of the charred w^ood remaining after the
Beltane fire, and set it under her pillow at night,
she would see her future husband, either in a
vision or in a dream.
Dorothy Valine 397
Therefore, when the May dew had dried upon
the faces of the maidens, they ascended the
Castle Ditches, and from around the still smoul-
dering Beltane fire, each one gathered a piece of
charred wood, and therewith returned home.
Upon reaching the town, they parted, but not
before each maiden had faithfully promised to
relate the result of the mystic vision or dream of
In one of the upper rooms of the house, over
which a vine cast its traceries of pale green
leaves and curling tendrils, Dorothy Yanne was
busy at work preparing a wonderful skin lotion,
and on the table before her was the following
written recipe : —
Of elder-flower water brewed last year, . 3 parts.
jNIay dew, ...... i part.
Of water in which bruised almonds hath been
steeped for six days . . . . i part.
Eose water, i part.
As Dorothy carefully amalgamated these in-
gredients in a large white ware bowl, she thought
deeply of Owen Giles of Flanders.
Unfortunately, many maidens shared her
Owen Giles was a finely built man, standing
Pip, Fhtsh, and Flanders
about six feet without his shoes. He was fair-
baired, and grey-eyed, and, above all, his gay
and lively gallantry were almost a proverb in
the neighbourhood. He, a childless widower,
lived alone with his widowed mother.
Dorothy Vaune was a dark-eyed brunette
beauty, whose pride and hauteur were matters
of remark. But her friends and partisans ex-
cused lier pride, on the ground that her ancestors
were formerly owners of a dwelling then known
as the Manor, the ruins of which are still called
the Old Place. Fallen fortunes during the Civil
AYar had brought her father to Pip, which, though
a house of some importance, was, after all, not
quite the residence for " one of the Yannes."
When Dorothy had prepared the lotion for
which Stephen Gamage had given her the recipe,
she lingered looking out into the moonlight of
the first of May. Her desires and hopes were
satisfied, when downward from the town on his
way home came Owen Giles of Flanders.
He saw the beauty, and gaily doffed his hat,
and waved his hand in passing.
Before retiring to rest that night, Dorothy
carefully took the piece of charred wood she had
secured from the Beltane fire, and placed it in a
soft white kerchief which was duly concealed
under her pillow. That night, each girl of the
merry May-dew seekers did the same, with the
A Bewitched Household 399
exception of the kerchief, which the other maidens
regarded as detrimental to the spell.
Dorothy fell asleep loog before the May moon
reached the zenith, and, in her dreams, she found
herself in a pleasant park where deer abounded,
and elms and chestnuts made pleasant shade.
Yet, in all her wanderings, her one trouble was,
that Owen Giles came not. She waited for him
where the leaves of the chestnut-trees fluttering
cast lightly-flecked shadows upon the whispering
and quaking grasses, and she lingered until twi-
light came, but without avail. Then the dream
scene changed, and Dorothy was on a lonely
heath, far from any human habitation, and there
she was met by Stephen Gamage, the man of
When Dorothy awoke she fairly sobbed, because
Stephen Gamage, instead of Owen Giles, was the
man of her dreams.
The morning of the second of May was an
eventful one for the occujDants of Pip.
Three of the cows refused to yield milk ;
the cream could not be churned, and all the con-
tents of the dairy utensils had turned quite sour !
Dorothy herself, somewhat soured in temper,
because of the unpleasant dream, and the man
of second sight appearing thereiu, readily with
others declared that Kachel Flemynge had
bewitched the household.
400 Pip^ Flush ^ and Flanders
At sunrise on the second of May, Marjorie
Adam awoke after the most pleasant dream she
could possibly wish to have, simply because the
hero was Owen Griles.
Marjorie went about her work with right
good- will after breakfast. She sorted the linen,
scattering between the folds thereof sprigs of
fragrant lavender, then she set the huge chest
in order, and afterwards, singing merrily, went
to the kitchen to help her mother in matters
On reaching the domestic department Marjorie
observed that the maids were silent, and the
mistress looked as though something had fretted
''What is the matter?" asked Marjorie, ceas-
iug her sons;. " Has the bell of St. lltutus been
stolen, or has it rained black rain ? "
" Neither," said her mother fretfully. " But
all the milk in the dairy has turned sour, and
the cream refuses to churn. What we shall
do, / don't know."
Marjorie did not wholly doubt her mother,
and yet she could not quite believe that matters
were so much awry. But when she saw for
herself that the milk was curdled, and the
cream refused to be churned, she exclaimed,
Madam Giles 401
''This is Eachel Flemynge's work." In which
supposition the inmates of Flush agreed.
Madam Giles, standing in tlie sloping garden,
looked down through the closely clipped arch-
way of arbutus and sweet-scented bay, and
called her son to her side.
"What means all this commotion down at
Pip and Flush ? " she asked. " Our neighbours
yonder are running hither and thither like
''And so in truth, they are," replied Owen,
who related the experiences of the respective
" The milk in our dairy is not curdled," said
Madam Giles, " and the churning was accom-
plished before breakfast."
" Do you know why ? " asked Owen.
''Nay," replied his mother.
"Nicholas our ploughman, remembering the
tricks of witches about the ist of May, set
small twigs of mountain -ash here and there
around our premises. He says, as we all know,
that the smallest twio- of mountain-ash crossinsf
the path of a witch will stop her career, no
matter how wild she may be going."
Even as Owen Giles spoke, Rachel Flemynge,
402 Pip, Flush, and Flanders
curtseying, opened the gate, and ascended the
" What hast thou been doing % " asked Madam
"Nothing, madam, nothing," replied Rachel,
trembling and wincing under the old lady's
" Dost thou call it ' nothing ' to curdle the
milk in the dairies of thy neighbours and betters,
and to prevent the cream being churned ? "
" It is not my work, madam," said Rachel,
nervously clasping her hands. " Is the milk in
Flanders curdled, and doth the cream refuse to
churn ? "
"Nay," replied Madam Giles, "and in good
sooth there is a cause for the exemption.
Nicholas our ploughman used his arts magic
against the witch."
Owen smiled, and turned gaily away on his
Rachel Flemynge looked very grave.
" Thou know'st thou'rt guilty," said madam,
looking piercingly into Rachel's eyes when the
women were alone.
" I speak truly. Madam Giles," said Rachel,
" when I say that I did not, and know not how
to curdle milk, or to prevent any one churning."
Madam Giles was angry, and expressed it by
striking the path with her gold-headed stick.
Rachel Flemynge 403
For years the lady of Flanders had tried to
induce Eachel Flemynge to confess to her know-
ledge of witchcraft, but had always failed.
" Why then doth the reputation of witchcraft
cling to thee, and not to me ? " asked madam, in
a penetrating toue.
"Madam Giles," said Eachel seriously, "I
know no more of witchcraft than of any other
art or craft. As to the bad reputation clinging
to me, it came in this wise. Many years ago
I foretold the manner of death of one of the
Flemynges of Flemyngstone. I was then a
maid in Flemyngstone Court, and I practised
the art of fortune telling and palmistry for
simple amusement. Somehow or other I got
into the habit of foretellinor comino; events. In
a later generation they will call that foresight,
and the power of judging from causes of the
present the results of the future. Fate hath
gifted me thus, and can I help it ? "
Madam Giles, after pondering awhile, said,
" It may be that thou art gifted with a strange
art, but there is no need to exercise an evil gift.
Why dost thou do so ? "
" I seldom do," replied Eachel. Then, lower-
ing her voice, she added, " I augment my poor
pittance by telling fortunes for silly maidens ;
by selling charms, and reading the lines of the
hand, but I do no harm."
404 Pip, Flush^ and Flanders
" No harm, indeed ! " reiterated madam. " I
call it vast harm to delude maidens and make
them believe all sorts and conditions of non-
sense. Wliy not give up thy evil work ? "
" Because I would starve. It is hard even now
for a poor lone widow to get in these bad times
a bare crust. What with losses by the great
civil wars, and the fines to be paid, the county
gentlefolks have little to give, and what is more,
most of them have discharged many servants,
and do with less workpeople than formerly. I
used to get three, or even six days work a-week,
when first I was widowed, but latterly I only
got one or two out of the seven days, and of late
I have not got one single hour, let alone a day."
" I know the times are bad, but they do not
make a legitimate excuse for evil practices," said
Madam Giles, adding, '' Thou dost know the end
of the sinner ? "
''As described by other sinners," replied
Eachel quickly and sharply.
''Dost add irreverence to thy other heinous
oifences ? " exclaimed madam sternly.
" Nay, madam, nay," said Eachel. "But time
and fate, and human kind, have embittered my
soul, so that generally the little life that is lefc
in me is like wormwood and gall."
" In the depths of my heart, I pity thee, Eachel
Flemynge, but bad as thou art, even now it is
Into Galilee'' 405
not too late for repentance. They would receive
thee into G-alilee, if I favourably mentioned thy
name," said Madam Giles.
" Into Galilee ! " exclaimed Rachel. " There
will I never submit to go. Why, madam, if I
went there, I would at once openly confess and
proclaim myself to be a wicked woman, and a
witch also ! Galilee will never see me ! "
" Then thou must remain past redemption,"
said madam gravely.
'* Ay ! Perhaps so," responded Rachel.
The term Galilee was applied to that part of
the parish church which was set at the service of
the excommunicated. There, clothed in sack-
cloth and ashes, the offender was allowed to stand
and hear the services, and afterwards pray for
absolution, but, to gain complete forgiveness,
he was obliged to humiliate himself on three
different occasions. Then, as a rule, in Lent he
was shriven, and duly received by the priest,
after which he was reinstated among the wor-
shippers in the church.
The Galilee of Llantwit Major parish church
is, even in the present day, in a fair state of
preservation, although time has rendered it
*' Dost thou clearly understand what I say ?"
asked Madam Giles.
'^That I do," replied Rachel. ''Thou say'st
4o6 Pip, Fhish, mid Flanders
I must remain past redemption unless I consent
to enter Galilee, and that I will never do. Why
should I, madam ? "
" To rid thy name of the stain and taint of
\Yitchcraft," replied Madam Giles.
" Could the priest, or any mortal, rid me of
either?" asked Eachel.
"The priest, as agent of the Most High, could
do so, and the world would thus believe thee to
be absolved. Otherwise thou must remain con-
tent to bear the opprobrious cognomen of witch,"
said Madam Giles.
"So be it," said Eachel. " I had rather
falsely bear the reputation of being a witch, than
enter into Galilee. But I am detaininsf madam.
The morning passes, and I must be gone."
Then, curtseying deeply, Eachel turned to
" Stay," said madam in a kindly voice, " go
around to the kitchen. Bad as thou art, thou
shalt have a basketful of scraps at least."
Eachel did as she was bidden, and Madam
Giles filled the basket w^itli contents better and
more than mere scraps, after which the old
woman thankfully went her way.
Goino: homeward throuo:h the fields behind
Flanders, Eachel encountered several maidens,
who, doubtless knowino' the old woman had been
to see Madam Giles, had waited her coming.
C harried Wood 407
"Here, Eachel/' said one of the sauciest
maidens, " I thought if we each obtained a piece
of charred wood from the embers of the Beltane
fire, and placed it under our pillows, the hus-
band to be would appear in a vision or dream of
" It comes to pass thus sometimes," said
Rachel. " I don't always place faith in that act.
What did'st thou see in thy dream ?"
"Oh 1 " exclaimed the merry maiden, " I saw
a horrid little old man with bair quite white,
and he leaned upon a staff and leered at me
most provokingly. Besides which he had a
great bag full — of bones, I expect. From that
I suppose I am to marry a beggar or a sexton."
"Nay," replied Rachel "Let me see thy hand."
The girl laughingly revealed her left palm.
" Thou'lt marry a man many years older than
thee. And he will be exceedingly rich. He was
the man of thy dream," said Rachel.
" Oh ! oh ! " shouted the other girls, laughing
heartily. " A rich old man ! Fie for shame !
Thou'rt a money hunter ! "
" What did'st thou dream ? " asked Rachel,
addressing Dorothy Yanne.
" Nothing particular," said the proud beauty,
with a toss of her head.
" Not of Owen Giles ? " queried one of the
4o8 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders
" The man of FJanders is nothing whatever to
me," said Dorothy.
" Since when ? " asked one.
" What a change ! " remarked another.
"No change at all," said Dorothy. "I don't
care a rap for Owen Giles ! " But, although she
sharply snapped her fingers, burning blushes
Heeted over her cheeks, and her dark eyes
"What did'st thou dream?" asked Eachel.
"/have a right to know."
" Well, there's no harm telling, since 'tis
certain I shall never marry the man of my
dream. I saw Stephen Gam age."
"Stephen Gamage ! " exclaimed one of the
" The man of second sight ! " said another.
" That was not a bad omen," remarked Eachel.
" It is good to dream of a man gifted with second
sight. It means a romantic courtship, and pos-
sibly a strange and lofty marriage."
" There now," said one of the girls. " Perhaps
thou shalt marry a fine lord and be a grand lady
— far grander than to be mistress of Flanders."
" It may be so," said Dorothy. " Perhaps I
shall have grandeur without happiness."
There was a slightly sneerful tone in her
voice, and the maidens believed she could only
gain happiness with Owen Giles.
Majorie Adam 409
''Thou art very quiet," remarked Eachel to
Marjorie Adam. '' What was thy dream ? "
She did not like to relate her dream because
of Dorothy Yanne.
Seeing her reluctant to tell, the girls beseeched
''Thou must let us know," they cried. " We
all have promised, and w^ill not let thee be an
Blushing deeply, even to the roots of her
hair, Marjorie Adam said, "The man of my
dream was "
" Speak out," interrupted the girls, almost in
" Owen Giles," said Marjorie ; then she hid
her face in her hands.
" Tall and stately Owen Giles of Flanders,"
said Eachel slowly.
" Owen Giles will never marry again while his
mother lives," exclaimed Dorothy Vaune, with a
toss of her head, "and Madam Giles is only
sixty this year. So anybody who waits for him
will wait till their hair turns grey."
Then she tripped gaily homewards through
" She's jealous," said the girls to Marjorie,
who, in reply, remarked, " That is why I liked
not to tell, but all uro^ed me."
4IO Pip, Fhish, and Flanders
"Ay," said Kachel, "a promise is a promise,
aud all agreed to abide by it."
Rachel Flemynge, after bidding her auditors
a pleasant "good morning," proceeded to the
gate-house, and the maidens fluttered like white
doves towards the sea, singing as they went one
of the songs of the period. In sweet and perfect
unison the maidens sang —
"The fairest hopes fulfihiient find
In May ! in May !
All clouds and gloom are left behind
In May ! in May !
The hours are bright, the days are long,
And gladness comes with love and song
In May ! in May !
O maidens all, 'tis sweet to live
In May ! in May !
For love its rarest tokens give
In May ! in May I
And life is like a blissful dream.
When song-birds sing and sunbeams gleam
In May ! in May !
In all the years that are in store,
Our fairest May
Will live in memory evermore !
And when the flowers and white thorns bloom,
In dreams will come, through care and gloom.
The voice that thrill'd, the words that brought
Love's magic spell to us unsought.
In May ! in May ! "
The Eve of All Saints 41 1
The Monastery Gate-House.
If Rachel FJemynge hoped to be alone on the
eve of All Saints she was disappointed.
Several visitors came to see her, and the
herb concoctions with which she had busied
herself during the afternoon were set aside for
A dense and dripping fog came ghostlike
through the long meadows and ascended the
hills. With its filmy warp and woof it encircled
the fifth century university town, and totally
obliterated the distance.
In the fog, the ancient monastery gate-house
looked like a sentinel guarding the mysteries of
the past. There, hoary with age, that last
remnant of the thirteenth-century monastic
buildings stood in the seventeenth century, and
there it still stands in the present day. It is
now in a condition of semi-decadence, unin-
habited, but still fairly preserved with its out-
side stairway, and porch now covered with ivy.
Down below the hill on which the gate-house
stands is the church dedicated to St. II tutus.
En the churchyard are the celebrated crosses,
some of which are supposed to have been erected
so early as the fifth century.
Beyond the church, and in the centre of
4 1 2 Pip, Fhish, and Flanders
the town, stands the hall of justice, with its
gilded weathercock and ancient bell bearing
the motto —
" Ora pro nobis sancte Iltute."
Beside the Town Hall, quaint and antique
Tudor-built houses appear with their curious
doorways and windows, and even in the present
day numerous traces of its former importance
are to be found in the fifth century university
town of Llantwit Major, where, in the winter
nights, the curfew bell has been rung from the
days of the Norman Conqueror until the present
year of grace.
Just as the curfew proclaimed the hour of
eight, in the year 1668, Stephen Gamage passed
through the churchyard and ascended the steep
and rugged roadway leading to the gate-house.
When he rapped at the door, Kachel Flemynge
''Hast thou had any callers this evening?"
asked Stephen Gamage, taking the fireside corner
of one of the worm-eaten oaken settles.
" A few, but not so many as last year," replied
Rachel. " The fog is bad, times are poor, and
money is scarce."
Then they talked the general town gossip, in
the midst of which somebody knocked at the door.
" Come in," said Rachel without moving, and
Owen Giles entered.
'^ Come Home with Me at once^^ 413
" Good night to you," said Owen.
Eachel and Stephen simultaneously returned
'' I have come up to question thee," said OweD,
" What about ? " she asked.
" The horses in the stables refuse to move ;
the cattle have not touched or tasted food for
forty-eight hours, and one of the farm-boys has
slept for tweuty-four hours without waking," said
" And that is brought home to my doors, I
suppose," said Eachel bitterly. " It is of course
my fault. Dost thou believe so ? "
" I do not," said Owen. " But strange things
have occurred of late, and there appears to be no
explanation, even if thou can st supply remedies.
My mother begs thee to come home with me at
'' On the supposition that only a witch can
heal the effects of witchcraft," said Stephen
Eachel readily accompanied Owen Giles to
Flanders, although the fog was dense, and the
November night air was raw and chill.
Madam Giles waited for them in the kitchen.
" What hast thee been doing ? " she asked of
"I have done naught," replied Eachel.
4 1 4 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders
" In May last I spoke seriously to thee, but
all to no purpose," said madam severely, " and
now the twigs of the mountain-ash have failed
to prove preventatives against thy witchcraft.
Go now and treat the victims of thy art."
Each el obeyed, and before she quitted Flan-
ders the horses moved, the cattle began to eat,
and the farm-boy, at the old woman's touch,
Owen Giles accompanied Rachel home, and
paused a moment at the door of the gate-house.
"Come in with me," said Rachel.
"Not again," replied Owen.
" Hast thou ever tried thy luck, or had thy
fate revealed ? " asked Rachel.
"Nay," replied Owen.
" Come in, then, and have one or the other,"
said Rachel. "None but Stephen Gamage shall
hear or know of it."
Owen, by no means reluctant, entered.
" This is one of the three spirit-nights," re-
marked Rachel, as she poked the fire.
" I. know," replied Owen, slightly shiveriug.
Rachel, observing this, begged him to draw
nearer the fire, then she proceeded to read the
lines upon his hand.
" The line of fortune promises some fame, but
not great riches," said Rachel. " Thy fate will
be fortunate, but some trouble precedes success.
Stately Owen Giles 415
Thou wilt be lured by beauty, and sometimes by
pleasure of short duration, but thou wilt be gifted
with prudence and wisdom, and will be happy
again in thy later affections."
" Shall I marry again ? " asked Owen.
" The woman that is to be thy second wife
must first be married to another man. When
she is widowed, and thou art in thy prime, the
marriage will take place," said Rachel.
*' Better twice than never," remarked Stephen.
While Rachel entertained Owen Giles in the
monastery gate-house, merry parties of youths
and maidens in Pip and Flush were burning nuts
upon the hearths, or trying to snatch apples
floating in tubs of water, or using every art to
bite the apple instead of the end of tallow sus-
pended by a cord from the rafters. Some of the
girls, more venturesome than the others, tried
the knife and sheath spell. In the History of
Llangynivyd, by Mr. T. C. Evans, better known
in Wales as " Cadrawd," this curious and ancient
spell is thus described : — " If the operator was a
girl she was to place a knife, stuck on end, in
the corner of the leek-bed in the garden, retain-
ing the sheath in her hand, on a dark night, and
after ten o'clock, in absolute secrecy, she was
then to walk backwards around the bed, carry-
ing the sheath in her right hand. She was on no
4 1 6 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders
account to look behind her, and was to be very
careful not to stumble. If her destiny was to be
matrimony, her lover's shade would appear, take
out the knife from the earth, and place it in the
sheath. It is said that a young girl, on one occa-
sion, in performing this trick, was beset by two
shades at once. The consequence was that she
became the victim of the wicked wiles of one of
them, and eventually the wife of the other."
All the arts and practices recommended by
Rachel, the witch, or by Stephen, the man
of second sigrht, were tried to the utmost, and
towards midnight, a crowd of boys went to peep
through the keyhole of the church door to see
the spiritual forms of those who were to depart
this life during the ensuing year.
Some maidens following the ancient custom,
ate apples while dressing their hair, in the hope
that their future husbands would come and look
over their shoulders, and into their mirrors (if
they had any) before which they stood.
More than one girl set her body linen on a
chair before the fire, and seated herself in a quiet
corner, where, seeing and yet not being seen, she
mioht watch the lover that was to come and
turn the garment.
But not one of the girls ventured to place a
piece of charred wood from the Beltane fire under
their pillows again, since the report had gone
forth, that when, in the May time, they did so,
some witchery and mischief were connected
therewith, else how was it that the milk in the
dairies curdled and the cream refused to churn ?
All the parish revolted against the use of the
charred wood, which had been destroyed by com-
mon consent and j&re before the Town Hall.
Love philtres and charms were the order of
that eve of All Saints, and " first foot of winter,"
and late hours, even in the best regulated houses,
were the rule in the whole district.
Fourteen days later Eachel Flemyuge was
arrested for witchcraft.
The accuser was Madam Giles of Flanders, and
the offence was that Eachel Flemynge had, in
the presence of Edward Vanne of Pip, James
Adam of Flush, Owen Giles of Flanders, and
John Turberville, declared she could fly. What
was more daring, in Madam Giles' opinion, the
witch assured them she was able to fly without
the aid of wings, which even the smallest bird
would have found impossible.
It was a great day w^hen ''Eachel was put on
People came long distances to attend the trial,
and men, women, youths, and maidens congre-
gated around the Town Hall long before the
hour appointed for the assembly of the court.
41 8 Pip^ Flush, and Flanders
Sir Thomas Stradling, of St. Donats Castle,
was to judge the case, and, accompanied by
several local magnates, he took his seat.
Witnesses were called upon both sides, and
Madam Giles appeared in person.
When all the evidence had been obtained, Sir
Thomas Stradling called out, " Eachel Flemynge,
stand forth," and the reputed witch promptly
"Thou hast declared to these witnesses that
thou canst fly, and they believe it is impossible
for thee to do so. Now I ask thee, on thy oath,
and before these thy neighbours — canst thou
" I said so, sir," replied Eachel, curtseying low.
'' Then do so as soon as thou dost like," said
Sir Thomas Stradling. '' There is no law against
flying. I therefore dismiss the case with costs."
All present were surprised, but Madam Giles
was angry, and went home in hot haste.
'' I never could have believed it, never," she
exclaimed to her son. '' A Stradling leagued
with a witch ! He may be a patron of witch-
craft, or even a wizard himself."
"Mother!" exclaimed Owen Giles.
"Yes; I blush to think that my countryman,
Sir Thomas Stradling, Colonel of Infantry to
King Charles the Second, should release a witch,
who plays meg's diversions with all the parish,
Te7i Years Later 419
and confesses that she can fly, when anybody
with sense knows such a statement to be pre-
posterous," said Madam Giles.
'' Sir Thomas always discountenances the
mischievous and often fatal practice of trying-
persons for the off'ence of witchcraft," remarked
''Eachel will come to a bad end, mark my
words ! " exclaimed Madam Giles.
"Never fear," said Ow^en. "Eachel can mind
herself, I'll warrant."
Ten years bad flown since the memorable
May time, wdien the maidens of Pip and Flush
had "tried their fortune" by means of the
charred wood from the Beltane fire. Two years
after Rachel's trial, Marjorie Adam left Wales as
the wife of Captain Meredith, an English officer
in King Charles the Second's Guards. Soon
afterwards, Dorothy Yanne was married to one
of the Stradlings, and went to the Devonshire
estate of Coombe Hawey.
Captain Meredith died in 1676, and Marjorie
returned to live with her parents. She had but
one child, a daughter, who soon found her way
to Flanders, where she w^as petted and spoiled
by stately Owen Giles.
420 Pip, Flush^ and Flanders
It was the eve of May 1678.
As of old, those who were accustomed to
kindle the Beal or Beltane fire, went to the
Castle Ditches. There the people as usual con-
gregated, and sang and danced as in the days
In the twilight of that day Marjorie Meredith
thought of her May dream ten years before.
Her marriage, entered upon to please her parents,
had been loveless. Still in her mind, and always
in her reverie of the p)ast, stately Owen Giles
took the place of honour.
Musing in this manner, just where the grey
wavelets of the Severn Sea came rippling over
the yellow sands, Marjorie Meredith was not
aware of the approach of a second or third
jDerson. One was Owen Giles, the other was
The merry laughter of her little daughter dis-
turbed Marjorie in her reverie, and she got up
from the rock on which she was seated to greet
Looking up, she was almost awed by his stately
stature, but she readily entered into conversa-
tion with him, and they soon wended their way
As they went along the meadows, just as of
old, a group of merry maidens came singing the
customary song of May, which, with others, she
May Memories 421
sang in the long ago. The song thrilled her
heart, and every word seemed to sink into her
soul. She thought of her ''fairest" May, and
only wished that her hopes could find fulfilment
in the month of blossoms, or, for the matter of
that, any other time, provided it would be soon
— yes soon, very soon.
Owen Giles, observing that Marjorie was in a
thoughtful mood, talked with Dorothy, and
paused now and again to reach branches thick
with May-blossoms for the child.
That night, when the people who took part in
the Beltane festivities reached the highest point
of excitement, and the dancers, hand in hand,
went almost madly around the fire, Rachel
Flemynge darted through the crowd as of old,
and with her staff stirred the driftwood.
In a harsh croakino^ voice she sanor —
" Through good and evil, through weal and woe,
From life to death we all must go."
Then seizing a burning brand she held it aloft,
and swayed it to and fro in the sight of the
Mothers and maidens screamed with terror ;
men and youths looked amazed at the witch,
who appeared to have taken leave of her senses.
While the vast crowd stood speechless and
spellbound, Richard Flemynge excitedly pushed
42 2 Pip, Flush, and Flanders
his way towards Eachel, and endeavoured to
take the brand from his sister's hand.
With almost supernatural strength Rachel,
still brandishing the faggot, fiercely thrust her
brother from her side. What happened next
everybody witnessed, but not a person could
tell how the disaster came about.
As the terror-stricken people gazed speech-
lessly at the witch, Richard Flemynge was seen
to sway to and fro like one drunken ; then he
stao-o^ered face forward into the midst of the
Beltane fire, and there was no help for him !
Human hands failed to save him, and the
crowd turned helplessly away from the sickening
sight of flames fed by mortal agony.
In the commotion and subsequent astonish-
ment Rachel Flemynge disappeared.
" She did the deed. ! " cried one in the crowd.
"The witch thrust her brother into the Beltane
" Stay ! " shouted Stephen Gamage. '' I fore-
told his death."
" Ay ! ay ! " responded several men, as in one
breath ; "we remember."
"What didst thou say?" demanded the others
" That he would die a death which he and
his people deemed the least likely. I meant he
would be accidentally burnt alive," said Stephen.
" The Witch is Gidlty I'' 423
The crowd fairly groaned.
Then those who were maliouant towards Eachel
grew excited, and the spokesman of the party
shouted, '' She did it 1 The witch is guilty ! She
thrust her brother into the fire, and she shall
suffer for it ! An eye for an eye — a tooth for a
tooth ! "
With that, the infuriated multitude, whom no
human force or persuasion could stay, rushed
downwards from the Castle Ditches and hastened
to the monastery gate-house, hopiug to find and
secure Eachel, but she was not there.
Scared by the terrible fate of her brother,
and knowino^ that her enemies would accuse
her of murder, Eachel escaped the town, but
ultimately, lack of funds, and, most of all, expo-
sure, hindered her progress, so that one day
she was discovered in the woodlands around
Llantrythid and brought home to Llantwit and
All the old schemes against her for witchcraft
were set aside, in the new and more feasible
charore against her. She was tried and found
guilty of " a most unnatural and inhuman form
of murder, fratricidal," and the reputed witch
was sentenced to be "burned alive."
Accordingly a stake was erected near the
ancient town cross, and thereto Eachel was led
424 Pip-, Flush, and Flanders
On ODe side of her stood Edward Vanne of Pip,
on the other was James Adam of Flush, both of
whom were among the jurors.
Sir Thomas Stradling purposely absented him-
self from both the trial and the execution, and
his place, as judge, was filled by Richard Basset
''May I speak?" asked Rachel calmly when
she approached the stake.
" Thou may'st," said the judge compassion-
ately, as he silenced the mob that hissed and
Rachel Flemynge folded her hands and looked
prayerfully to the sk}^ Her poor pale face was
painfully attenuated, her once bright eyes were
tear-dimmed and deeply sunken in their sockets,
her thin and wasted body was shattered by
imprisonment and lack of nutriment, and her
parched lips quivered with heart agony and
Clearly, and in distinct tones, Rachel Flemynge
addressed the multitude —
" In the sight of heaven, aiid in hearing of
my fellow-mortals, I solemnly declare that I am
innocent of the crime with which I have been
charged and proclaimed guilty. But I would
say one word to those among whom I have lived
a long life-time — ^ Let him ivho is tvithout sin
cast the first stoned'
'' A Sip of Water ' 425
She paused, and the multitude hissed and
hooted amid cries of '' Away with her ! " —
''Despatch the Witch ! " — '' Burning is too good
for her I "
''Silence!" sternly commanded the judge,
adding, "Let the woman liave opportunity of
speech for the last time." Then he directed
Rachel to continue.
"I go," she said, "the last of the Flemynges,
to the regions of the Unknown; but before T
depart, I prophesy that the last of the Yannes,
and the last of the Adams, stand beside me.
Their names shall die in the dust, and their
gravestones shall be pavement for men's feet.
I go — tlie innocent, the persecuted — to mv
martyrdom, not as a saint, but as a mortal con-
demned by sinners, and as a woman to whom
fate hath been cruelly harsh. Farewell ! I
forgive you all ! Now ' let him ivho is ivithout
sin cast the first stoneJ "
Yanne of Pip and Adam of Flush drew back
The men around the stake quailed. The crowd
"Before I go hence, I would fain have a sip
of water," said Rachel humbly.
For a moment there was no response, but
while Rachel looked sadly yet eagerly around,
Owen Giles pressed through the crowd, and with
426 Pip, Flush, and Flanders
his own hand gave the poor woman a cup of cold
water. It w^as little to give, but given freely
and in deepest sympathy.
^' A dying woman's blessings on thee and thine
for ever," said Eachel, when her fevered thirst
was slaked. "The name of Giles shall suivive
throuo^h Ion or centuries when other names have
In the brief silence that followed, the men
around the stake were busily engaged in disen-
tangling the ropes that were to bind the victim
for the burning.
Once more Eachel Flemynge lifted up her
voice, and as the scalding; tears fell like rain
upon her pallid cheeks, she cried aloud, ^^ Let
him ivho is ivithout sin cast the first stone'/'
Then, trembling with emotion, and staggering
backward, Rachel fell into the outstretched arms
of stately Owen Giles.
" She is dead ! " cried Owen Giles, in a hoarse
but subdued tone, as he directed one of the by-
standers to stretch his mantle upon the road
beside the cross, and they laid Eachel Flemynge's
No need now of ropes wherewith to bind the
poor frail remnant of mortality ; no need now of
tow, and hemp, and tarred faggots, for the burn-
ing ; no need now of tinder and spark, or flame
Old L Ian iltyd Vawr 427
Death in sinless sympathy had " cast the first
stone ! "
Quaint and quiet, in the midst of their old-
time gardens, Pip, Flush, and Flanders still
stand, but the Vaimes and the Adams are gone,
and their gravestones have become '' pavements
for men's feet."
But the name of the seventeenth century
owner of Flanders, by the union of Owen Giles,
widower, with Marjorie Meredith, widow, de-
scended through long generations, and still
survives in the surrounding country, although
it has become extinct in Llantwit Major, for-
merly known as Old Llauiltyd Vawr, or the
" Sacred Place of Iltyd the Great."
Admiral Nutt, 241.
After loug years, 205.
All in all to him, 207.
Ancient customs, 416.
■ town cross, 423.
Arnold St. John, 277.
Asti'onomers, three blessed, 48.
Aubreys, one of the, 119.
Baal Fire, 383.
Bard's Lament," " The, 394.
Barnstaple Bay, 228.
Bell of St. Iltutus, 400.
Beltane festivities, 383.
fire, the, 387.
Belyn and Elined, 67.
ap Madoc, 48,
Bendith-y-Mamau, the, 38.
Berwyn mountains, the, 50.
Bethel, in, 191.
Betty Barebones, 129.
Bewitched household, a, 399.
Blessed astronomers, three, 48.
Breaksea Point, 93.
Breconshire, Builth, 103.
Brenin Llwyd, the, 53,
Bridegroom's madness, a, 295.
Bride and bridegroom, 263.
, the beautiful, 175.
Brynach ap Howe], 171.
Brychan Brycheiniog, 69,
Builth, Breconshire, 103.
" Burn her for a witch ! " 389.
Button, Morgan, 41.
of Sheepcote, Miles, 40,
Candle, dead man's, 89.
Captivity, in, 85.
Cardigan Bay, 61.
Castell Carreg, 36.
Castle ditches, 383.
Cattraeth, the lord of, 59.
Chair of Idris, in the, 53.
Charred wood, 407.
Charter, the People's, 311.
Cheeses, the, 235.
Christian college, the first, 382.
Christmas Eve, 135.
Church Llantysilio, 23.
Cloud of feathers, a, 271.
Cogan Pill, 38.
Colhugh Point, 383.
Colyn Dolphyn, t^.
Coming home, 255.
Crosses, ancient, 383.
Cross, the valley of the, 96.
Crwn annwn, the, 138.
Curfew bell, the, 412.
Curse from the altar, the, 25.
Cyhyraeth, the, 305.
Cyril's return, 43.
Cyveiliog Owain, 57.
Ddu, Eobin, 16.
Ddu's warning, Robin, 29.
Dead man's candle, 89.
Dee, the sacred, 13.
Deliverance from peril, in.
Devil's chimney, the, 235.
Devil's limekiln, the, 235.
Digging the snow away, 153.
Dinah David, Aunt, 187.
Dinas, Bran, 353.
Dinas rock, 376.
Ditty Morgan, 303.
Dominica, the, 291.
Dorothy Vanne, 397.
Dream, the master's, 27.
Drovers, among the, 131
Druid's Dirge," "The, 393.
Dynwen's bow of destiny, 69.
Dyuwen's cave, 69.
Dysynni, the river, 377.
Edward the First, 57.
Elizabeth, Lady Stradling, 75.
End is Comin','' "The, 155.
Eve of All Saints, 411.
Faith in fairy folk, old, 99.
Feliii hen, 211.
Fells, the, 189.
Ffarwel, Myvanwy Vychan I 365.
Fifth century university towu, 382.
Firefly's pace, 45.
Firelight, in the, 289.
Flemings, the, 381.
Flemyngstone court, 403.
Flemynge's work, Kachel, 401.
Folk story of Castell Carreg, a, 36.
" Follow me," 349.
''For your life go back," 105.
Freeh "Wen, the, 219.
Funeral procession, the, 33.
Gam Dafydd, 373.
Galilee, the, 405.
Gannet Coombe, 229.
Garland, Captain, 169.
Ghost, Lady's Jane's, 351.
Ghostly annoyance, the heritage of,
Ghostly visitant, a, 23.
Giles, the name of, 427.
"Give me rest ! " 367.
Glamorgan, the vale of, 37.
Glendower in South Wales, Owen,
Golden Bay, 228.
Mile, the, 46.
Gower, in the land of, 283.
Grand sight, a, 151.
Grey King, the, 53,
Grim shadow, a, 32.
Gruffydd ap Madoc,
the harpist, 59.
Gruesome scene, a strange and, 145.
Gwenllian of Craig-y-Mwyn, 171.
Gwilvm ap Howel, 64.
Gwlad ar Hav, 78.
Gwrach-y-rhybin, the, 138.
Gwydion, the son of Don, 48.
Gwyn ap Nudd, 384.
son of Nudd, 48.
Gwj'nedd, Owen, 96.
Harlech Castle, 63.
Henry the Fourth, 61.
the Sixth, King, 73.
Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, Wil-
Herdsman's cottage, the, 143.
Hirlais horn, the, 58.
Holms Flat, 79.
Holm, the steep, 36.
Honddu, the rivei-, 373.
Horse Shoe Weir, the, 13.
Idris Gawr, 51.
Idris the Great, 48.
Iltyd the Great, sacred place of,
In the Sea-SicaUoiv, 79.
" Into Galilee," 405.
lolo Goch's ode, 363.
Morgan wg, 87.
Ivor the cowboy, 137.
Joshua Morgan, 183.
Killed in a duel, 351.
King of Wales, 372.
Lady Jane's ghost, 347.
Lake Llynclys, 181.
Lametor, the peninsula of, 226,
Lelaud's Itinerary, 77.
"Let by-gones be by-gones," 31.
Lewis Thomas, 91.
Lion of Freedom," " The, 315.
Living alone, 161.
Llangynwyn," " History of , 415.
Llaniltyd Vawr, 382.
Llanymynach Rocks, 179.
Llantwit crosses, 383.
Llantysilio church. 23.
Llew, the bard, 357.
Llewellyn Gwyn, 323.
Lord of Dinas Bran, the, 379.
of Lundy, the, 241.
Machynlleth, at, loi.
Madam Giles, 417.
Madoc, Belyn ap, 48.
Manor, the lord of the, 165.
Mari Llwyd, the, 309.
Marisco Castle, 227.
Marjorie Adam, 409.
Master's death, the, 33.
Master of Llantysilio, the, 15.
Matilda of the night, 'JZ-
IMay the lirst, 401.
May memories, 421.
Merch Megan, 307.
Merionethshire coast, 377.
Meyrick of Northcliffe, Roger, 39.
Michael Giles, 163.
Midnight, born at, 26.
Moat house, the, 161.
Moel Hebog, 377,
Monarch of the sun, 384.
Monastery gate house, the, 411.
Morris dancers, 224.
Mountain-ash, twigs of, 401.
Mumbles man-o'-war, the, 241.
Mynyddawe, the guards of, 59.
Mysterious voices, 55.
N ANT- Y- Garth, 127.
Nash sands, 343.
Neath valley, 376.
Nos Galan, 331.
Ogof Owain, 377.
Ogof, the cave of, 179.
Old Llaniltyd Vawr, 427.
■' Old post," the, 117.
Olwen of Carno, 171.
"On — "Welshmen — on ! " 375.
Orchard, in the, 193.
Our AVatkin, 247.
Owain ap Brynach, 173.
Owain's Cave, 377.
Owen Giles, stately, 415.
Owen Glendower, 49.
Owen Gwynedd, 96.
Owain Cyveiliog, 57.
Parliament house, the, 103.
Pastures of the heavens, 333.
Peep into the future," "a, 49.
Perilous errand, a, 147.
Pharaoh Llewelyn, 236.
Philtres, love, 417.
Pirate's invocation, 87.
Port Diuorwic, 211.
Powys, the poet-prince of, 57
Pronoville, Captain, 227.
Prosser Davy, 241.
Pryce, Sir Lloyd, 285.
Quakers' Yard, 185.
Quantock ranges, 387.
Rachel Flemynge, 403.
Rat Island, 227.
Rattles Bay, 236.
Rebecca riots, 114.
Reuben Llewelyn, 236,
Reynold's cave, 69.
Rhossilly's barometer, 293.
Rliys Griffith, 253,
Rhys the Red, 221.
Robber's leaj), the, 223.
Robin Ddu, 16.
Robin Ddu's warning, 29.
Koger's companion, 41.
Ryence, King, 335.
Sacred place of Iltyd the Great,
Salem, the minister of, 251.
Sclyt the Fearless, 57.
Severn Sea, the, 36,
Sexton, the angered, 313.
Shadow, a grim, 32.
Ship in distress, a, 93.
Shutter Rock, the, 235,
Sip of water," " a, 425.
Sir Harry's beacon," " Good, 83.
Small pox, the, 217.
Snowy grave, a, 157.
Solitary travellers, 97.
Song of the period, a, 410.
Songs and hymns, 307.
Spectral figures, three, 24.
Spirit singer, the, iii.
Spring cleaning, the, 213.
Stag, the, 273.
Stars, watching the, 51.
Stairs, Lewis Thomas's, 95.
St. Barbe, the, 78.
St. Donat's castle, 71.
St. Fagan's, the battle of, 39.
St. Iltutus, 382.
St. John, the eve of, 22.
St. Lythan's Down, 37.
St. Nicholas, 37.
Stradling family, the, 71.
Stradling, Sir Harry, 71-
Stradling, Sir Peter, 72.
Stradling, Sir Thomas, 90.
Strange sounds and footsteps, 139.
Stranger's arrival, the, 33.
Stei)hen's reverie, 385.
Steep Holm, the, 36,
" Stick to your Charter," 327.
Supernatural, experiences of the, 96.
Sutton manor house, 338.
bay, in, 243.
Tailor and madam, the, 19.
Taliesiu, son of lolo Morganwg, 87.
Templar Rock, the 235.
Ten years later, 419.
Thomas Lewis, 91.
" Through art magic," 371.
Tinkiu's wood, 42.
" To-morrow ! " 257.
Town hall, Llantwit Major, 412.
Tragic ending, a, 301.
Trial of the witch, the, 417.
Tuscar, the, 83.
Twm o' Garth, 133.
Tylwyth Teg, the, 38.
Under Owen Glendower, 61.
Ursula the bride, 287.
j Vale of worship, 37.
' of Glamorgan, the, 37.
I Valley of the cross, 96.
Valle Crucis Abbev, 105.
I Vawr, Old Llaniltyd, 427.
j Vychan Howell, 355.
j Vyrnwy waterworks, 159.
"Wales, for the honour and free-
dom of, 361.
king of, 372.
■ in the past, 385.
Watching for the " sea-thief," 81.
Warning, Robin's, 29.
Welsh buccaneers, 231.
language, suppression of, 372.
mountains, the, 147.
Quakers, the, 183.
Wenvoe Castle, 38.
What a feast was there ! 267.
What horror was before her? 297.
Winifred Morgan, 309.
AVitch is guilty! " "the, 423.
the death of the, 426,
Witchcraft, the offence of, 419.
Worms' Head, 293.
Worship, the vale of, 37.
Wylan, the monk, 177.
Ynyr, two sons of, 57.
Printed by Ballantvne, Hanson & Co., Edinburgh attd London